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Phase Field Theory and Analysis of Pressure-Shear Induced Amorphization and Failure in Boron Carbide Ceramic

Impact Physics Branch, US Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen MD 21005-5066, USA

A nonlinear continuum phase field theory is developed to describe amorphization of crystalline elastic solids under shear and/or pressure loading. An order parameter describes the local degree of crystallinity. Elastic coefficients can depend on the order parameter, inelastic volume change may accompany the transition from crystal to amorphous phase, and transitional regions parallel to bands of amorphous material are penalized by interfacial surface energy. Analytical and simple numerical solutions are obtained for an idealized isotropic version of the general theory, for an element of material subjected to compressive and/or shear loading. Solutions compare favorably with experimental evidence and atomic simulations of amorphization in boron carbide, demonstrating the tendency for structural collapse and strength loss with increasing shear deformation and superposed pressure.
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