Bulk Cu60Zr20Ti20 metallic glass has been rolled at room temperature (RT) and cryogenic temperature (CIF) up to 97% in thickness reduction, and the dependences of microstructure on the strain and temperature have been investigated. It is revealed that as the deformation proceeds below a critical thickness reduction, which is 87% at RT and 89% at CT, only the shear band density and the free-volume content increase, whereas the thermal stability of the deformed glass remains unchanged. Deformation above the critical thickness reduction results in phase separation plus nanocrystallization at RT, but only phase separation at CT, indicating that lowering the temperature can effectively retard the deformation-driven crystallization, and that phase separation is the precursor of crystallization. The appearances of phase separation and especially nanocrystallization reduce the thermal stability of the glass since they create advantages in chemical composition and topological structure for the primary crystalline phase to nucleate and grow.
Acta Materialia, 2006, Vol 54, Issue 16, p. 4373-4383