As theoretically hypothesized for several decades in group IV transition metals, we have discovered a dynamically stabilized body-centered cubic (bcc) intermediate state in Zr under uniaxial loading at sub-nanosecond timescales. Under ultrafast shock wave compression, rather than the transformation from α-Zr to the more disordered hex-3 equilibrium ω-Zr phase, in its place we find the formation of a previously unobserved nonequilibrium bcc metastable intermediate. We probe the compression-induced phase transition pathway in zirconium using time-resolved sub-picosecond x-ray diffraction analysis at the Linac Coherent Light Source. We also present molecular dynamics simulations using a potential derived from first-principles methods which independently predict this intermediate phase under ultrafast shock conditions. In contrast with experiments on longer timescale (> 10 ns) where the phase diagram alone is an adequate predictor of the crystalline structure of a material, our recent study highlights the importance of metastability and time dependence in the kinetics of phase transformations.
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - Jul 2021|