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Metastable quasicrystal-induced nucleation in a bulk glass-forming liquid.

ABSTRACT: This study presents a unique Mg-based alloy composition in the Mg-Zn-Yb system which exhibits bulk metallic glass, metastable icosahedral quasicrystals (iQCs), and crystalline approximant phases in the as-cast condition. Microscopy revealed a smooth gradual transition from glass to QC. We also report the complete melting of a metastable eutectic phase mixture (including a QC phase), generated via suppression of the metastable-to-stable phase transition at high heating rates using fast differential scanning calorimetry (FDSC). The melting temperature and enthalpy of fusion of this phase mixture could be measured directly, which unambiguously proves its metastability in any temperature range. The kinetic pathway from liquid state to stable solid state (an approximant phase) minimizes the free-energy barrier for nucleation through an intermediate state (metastable QC phase) because of its low solid-liquid interfacial energy. At high undercooling of the liquid, where diffusion is limited, another approximant phase with near-liquid composition forms just above the glass-transition temperature. These experimental results shed light on the competition between metastable and stable crystals, and on glass formation via system frustration associated with the presence of several free-energy minima.

SUBMITTER: Kurtuldu G 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6004477 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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