In order to investigate the effect of applied stress on mechanical properties in metallic glasses, nanoindentation tests were conducted on elastically bent Zr-Cu-Ag-Al metallic glasses with two different structure states. From spherical P-h
curves, elastic modulus was found to be independent on applied stress. Hardness decreased by ~8% and ~14% with the application of 1.5% tensile strain for as-cast and 650 K annealed specimens, while it was slightly increased at the compressive side. Yield stress could be obtained from the contact pressure at first pop-in position with a conversion coefficient. The experimental result showed a symmetrical effect of applied stress on strengthening and a reduction of the contact pressure at compressive and tensile sides. It was observed that the applied stress plays a negligible effect on creep deformation in as-cast specimen. While for the annealed specimen, creep deformation was facilitated by applied tensile stress and suppressed by applied compressive stress. Strain rate sensitivities (SRS) were calculated from steady-state creep, which were constant for as-cast specimen and strongly correlated with applied stress for the annealed one. The more pronounced effect of applied stress in the 650 K annealed metallic glass could be qualitatively explained through the variation of the shear transformation zone (STZ) size.
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