Amorphous shear bands are the main deformation and failure mode of super-hard boron carbide subjected to shock loading and high pressures at room temperature. Nevertheless, the formation mechanisms of the amorphous shear bands remain a long-standing scientific curiosity mainly because of the lack of experimental structure information of the disordered shear bands, comprising light elements of carbon and boron only. Here we report the atomic structure of the amorphous shear bands in boron carbide characterized by state-of-the-art aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy. Distorted icosahedra, displaced from the crystalline matrix, were observed in nano-sized amorphous bands that produce dislocation-like local shear strains. These experimental results provide direct experimental evidence that the formation of amorphous shear bands in boron carbide results from the disassembly of the icosahedra, driven by shear stresses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)