Void initiation in fcc metals: Effect of loading orientation and nanocrystalline effects

EM Bringa and S Traiviratana and MA Meyers, ACTA MATERIALIA, 58, 4458-4477 (2010).

DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2010.04.043

It is shown, through molecular dynamics simulations, that the emission and outward expansion of special dislocation loops, nucleated at the surface of nanosized voids, are responsible for the outward flux of matter, promoting their growth. Calculations performed for different orientations of the tensile axis, 0 0 1, 1 1 0 and 1 1 1, reveal new features of these loops for a face-centered cubic metal, copper, and show that their extremities remain attached to the surface of voids. There is a significant effect of the loading orientation on the sequence in which the loops form and interact. As a consequence, the initially spherical voids develop facets. Calculations reveal that loop emission occurs for voids with radii as low as 0.15 nm, containing two vacancies. This occurs at a von Mises stress approximately equal to 0.12G (where G is the shear modulus of the material), and is close to the stress at which dislocation loops nucleate homogeneously. The velocities of the leading partial dislocations are measured and found to be subsonic (similar to 1000 m s(-1)). It is shown, for nano-crystalline metals that void initiation takes place at grain boundaries and that their growth proceeds by grain boundary debonding and partial dislocation emission into the grains. The principal difference with monocrystals is that the voids do not become spherical and that their growth proceeds along the boundaries. Differences in stress states (hydrostatic and uniaxial strain) are discussed. The critical stress for void nucleation and growth in the nanocrystalline metal is considerably lower than in the monocrystalline case by virtue of the availability of nucleation sites at grain boundaries (von Mises stress similar to 0.05G). This suggests a hierarchy of nucleation sites in materials, starting with dispersed phases, triple points and grain boundaries, and proceeding with vacancy complexes up to divacancies. (C) 2010 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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