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Local symmetry predictors of mechanical stability in glasses

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  • Amelia C.Y. Liu, Monash University
  • ,
  • Espen D. Bøjesen
  • Rico F. Tabor, Monash University
  • ,
  • Stephen T. Mudie, Australian Synchrotron
  • ,
  • Alessio Zaccone, University of Milan
  • ,
  • Peter Harrowell, University of Sydney
  • ,
  • Timothy C. Petersen, Monash University

The mechanical properties of crystals are controlled by the translational symmetry of their structures. But for glasses with a disordered structure, the link between the symmetry of local particle arrangements and stability is not well established. In this contribution, we provide experimental verification that the centrosymmetry of nearest-neighbor polyhedra in a glass strongly correlates with the local mechanical stability. We examine the distribution of local stability and local centrosymmetry in a glass during aging and deformation using microbeam x-ray scattering. These measurements reveal the underlying relationship between particle-level structure and larger-scale behavior and demonstrate that spatially connected, coordinated local transformations to lower symmetry structures are fundamental to these phenomena. While glassy structures lack obvious global symmetry breaking, local structural symmetry is a critical factor in predicting stability.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberabn0681
JournalScience Advances
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

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