Publications / Journal Article

Enhanced densification under shock compression in porous silicon

Lane, J.M.; Thompson, Aidan P.; Vogler, Tracy V.

Under shock compression, most porous materials exhibit lower densities for a given pressure than that of a full-dense sample of the same material. However, some porous materials exhibit an anomalous, or enhanced, densification under shock compression. We demonstrate a molecular mechanism that drives this behavior. We also present evidence from atomistic simulation that silicon belongs to this anomalous class of materials. Atomistic simulations indicate that local shear strain in the neighborhood of collapsing pores nucleates a local solid-solid phase transformation even when bulk pressures are below the thermodynamic phase transformation pressure. This metastable, local, and partial, solid-solid phase transformation, which accounts for the enhanced densification in silicon, is driven by the local stress state near the void, not equilibrium thermodynamics. This mechanism may also explain the phenomenon in other covalently bonded materials.