Quantitative tracking of grain structure evolution in a nanocrystalline metal during cyclic loading
JF Panzarino and JJ Ramos and TJ Rupert, MODELLING AND SIMULATION IN MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, 23, 025005 (2015).
Molecular dynamics simulations were used to quantify mechanically induced structural evolution in nanocrystalline Al with an average grain size of 5 nm. A polycrystalline sample was cyclically strained at different temperatures, while a recently developed grain tracking algorithm was used to measure the relative contributions of novel deformation mechanisms such as grain rotation and grain sliding. Sample texture and grain size were also tracked during cycling, to show how nanocrystalline plasticity rearranges overall grain structure and alters the grain boundary network. While no obvious texture is developing during cycling, the processes responsible for plasticity act collectively to alter the interfacial network. Cyclic loading led to the formation of many twin boundaries throughout the sample as well as the occasional coalescence of neighboring grains, with higher temperatures causing more evolution. A temperature-dependent cyclic strengthening effect was observed, demonstrating that both the structure and properties of nanocrystalline metals can be dynamic during loading.
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