Segregation-affected yielding and stability in nanotwinned silver by microalloying

X Ke and F Sansoz, PHYSICAL REVIEW MATERIALS, 1, 063604 (2017).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.1.063604

Small-scale mechanics of solute atom segregation and incipient plasticity in nanotwinned Ag containing trace concentrations of Cu were studied by using large-scale hybrid Monte Carlo and molecular-dynamic simulations. It is found that solute Cu atoms are segregated concurrently to grain boundaries and intrinsic twin-boundary kink-step defects during thermal annealing. Low Cu dopant contents below 1 at. % are predicted to substantially increase twin stability in nanotwinned Ag, accompanied with a pronounced rise in yield strength at 300 K. Incipient plasticity is associated with kink-step migration, grain- boundary sliding, and dislocation nucleation from grain boundaries and twin-boundary defects, which are affected by doping. Cu-dependent yield strengthening in doped nanotwinned Ag is shown to correlate with the critical stress required to initiate crystal slip emitted from grain boundaries and twin-boundary defects. These findings provide fundamental insight into the roles of twin-boundary imperfections on plastic yielding, and offer clues to further extend the extraordinary stability and strength of nanotwinned metals by microalloying.

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