Impurities segregated to grain boundaries of a material essentially alter its fracture behavior. A prime example is sulfur segregation-induced embrittlement of nickel, where an observed relation between sulfur-induced amorphization of grain boundaries and embrittlement remains unexplained. Here, 48×106-atom reactive-force-field molecular dynamics simulations provide the missing link. Namely, an order-of-magnitude reduction of grain-boundary shear strength due to amorphization, combined with tensile-strength reduction, allows the crack tip to always find an easy propagation path.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)