Nanotwinning and amorphization of boron suboxide

Cody Kunka, Qi An, Nicholas Rudawski, Ghatu Subhash, James Zheng, Virginia Halls, Jogender Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Recently, researchers discovered that in contrast to isolated twins, periodic twins with nanoscale spacing can dramatically improve mechanical properties. Ceramics engineers now seek to incorporate this “nanotwinning” into icosahedral solids because of their high strength, high stability, and low mass density. In this manuscript, we assert that boron suboxide, while far less studied than boron carbide (i.e., the most popular icosahedral solid), possesses higher propensity for nanotwinning and higher theoretical promise. For boron suboxide, the influence of processing on twin spacing is explored through mechanical testing and transmission electron microscopy. Quantum-mechanical simulations are then performed to suggest a critical twin spacing that would maximize performance and to show how to track experimental nanotwinning with x-ray diffraction. Finally, transmission electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy show that amorphization, the localized loss of crystallinity, drives mechanical failure in ways unique to boron suboxide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-202
Number of pages8
JournalActa Materialia
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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