The plasticity of a ZrTi-based bulk metallic glass composite consisting of glassy matrix and crystalline dendritic phase was studied in-situ under identical tensile loading conditions using scanning electron microscopy and synchrotron X-ray diffraction. A generic procedure was developed to separate the diffraction information of the crystalline phases away from that of the matrix and to precisely calculate the microscopic strains of the two phases at different macroscopic load steps. In this way, the time-evolved quantitative links between shear bands nucleation/propagation and the corresponding microscopic stress fields around them are established, providing more quantitative understanding on (1) how the shear bands are driven by the local stress field, and (2) the critical stresses required for the shear bands to nucleate in the crystalline phase, propagate through the crystalline/matrix interface, and finally into the matrix.

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