A closer look at the local responses of twin and grain boundaries in Cu to stress at the nanoscale with possible transition from the P-H to the inverse P-H relation

L Yue and H Zhang and DY Li, ACTA MATERIALIA, 58, 2677-2684 (2010).

DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2009.12.054

Nanocrystalline copper is considered to be a candidate for electrical contacts for dynamic systems because of its intrinsic conductivity and enhanced fretting resistance. However, the enhanced electron scattering at high-density grain boundaries significantly deteriorates the overall conductivity of nanocrystalline copper. Recent studies suggest that nanosized twin boundaries in copper might be a solution to such a dilemma. To better understand the general mechanical behavior of nanotwin boundaries, we conducted molecular dynamics simulation studies to investigate responses of both nanotwin and nanograin boundaries in copper to stress at the nanoscale, particularly in the critical range of 5-25 nm where the inverse Petch Hall relation (P H) may occur in nanocrystalline copper. The obtained results suggest that the twin boundary blocks dislocation movement more effectively and the degree of emitting dislocations under stress is considerably lower than that of grain boundary, leading to superior mechanical behavior. The inverse P H relation is not applicable to the nanotwinned system. It is also demonstrated that the inverse P H relation occurring in nanograined materials does not necessarily result from grain boundary sliding. (C) 2010 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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