Anisotropic size effect in strength in coherent nanowires with tilted twins

YJ Wei, PHYSICAL REVIEW B, 84, 014107 (2011).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.84.014107

When materials are deformed plastically via dislocations, a general finding is that samples with smaller dimensions exhibit higher strengths but with very limited amount of plasticity in tension. Here we report that one-dimensional coherent nanostructures with tilted internal twins exhibit anisotropic size effect: their strengths show no apparent change if only their thicknesses reduce, but become stronger as the sample sizes are reduced proportionally. Large-scale molecular dynamics simulations show that such nanowires deform primarily through twin migration mediated by partial dislocations in one active slip system, and a large amount of plasticity could be achieved in such nanowires via twin migration. The unique structure shown here is suitable to explore strengthening mechanisms in metals when plasticity is controlled by a single dislocation slip system. This study also suggests a novel approach to modulate strength and ductility in one-dimensional coherent nanostructures.

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