The low ductility of bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) has limited the applications of BMGs as structural components. Using a highly viscous layer at the fixed ends of the specimen in uniaxial compression, direct experimental evidence of the presence of plastic deformation during the 'normal' elastic loading path and the achievement of high degrees of plasticity without catastrophic failure in brittle Zr-based BMGs is presented. A hydrodynamic model is used to explain the local surface deformation. The result is of technological significance because these findings suggest new strategies for controlling the deformation behaviour of BMGs in structural applications.
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