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Dynamic Martensitic Phase Transformation in Single-crystal Silver Microcubes

Ramathasan Thevamaran's picture

The ability to transform the crystal structure of metals in the solid-state enables tailoring their physical, mechanical, electrical, thermal, and optical properties in unprecedented ways. We demonstrate a martensitic phase transformation from a face-centered-cubic (fcc) structure to a hexagonal-close-packed (hcp) structure that occurs in nanosecond timescale in initially near-defect-free single-crystal silver (Ag) microcubes impacted at supersonic velocities. Impact-induced high pressure and high strain rates in Ag microcubes cause impact orientation-dependent extreme micro- and nano-structural transformations. When a microcube is impacted along the [100] crystal symmetry direction, the initial fcc structure transforms into an hcp crystal structure, while impact along the [110] direction does not produce phase transformations, suggesting the predominant role played by the stacking faults generated in the [100] impact. Molecular dynamics simulations at comparable high strain rates reveal the emergence of such stacking faults that coalesce, forming large hcp domains. The formation of hcp phase through the martensitic transformation of fcc Ag shows new potential to dramatically improve material properties of low-stacking-fault energy materials.

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Dynamic Phase Transformation in Silver

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