Nucleation of ripplocations through atomistic modeling of surface nanoindentation in graphite

D Freiberg and MW Barsoum and GJ Tucker, PHYSICAL REVIEW MATERIALS, 2, 053602 (2018).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.2.053602

In this work, we study the nucleation and subsequent evolution behavior of ripplocations - a newly proposed strain accommodating defect in layered materials where one, or more, layers buckle orthogonally to the layers - using atomistic modeling of graphite. To that effect, we model the response to cylindrical indenters with radii R of 50, 100, and 250 nm, loaded edge-on into graphite layers and the strain gradient effects beneath the indenter are quantified. We show that the response is initially elastic followed by ripplocation nucleation, and growth of multiple fully reversible ripplocation boundaries below the indenter. In the elastic region, the stress is found to be a function of indentation volume; beyond the elastic regime, the interlayer strain gradient emerges as paramount in the onset of ripplocation nucleation and subsequent in-plane stress relaxation. Furthermore, ripplocation boundaries that nucleate from the alignment of ripplocations on adjacent layers are exceedingly nonlocal and propagate, wavelike, away from the indented surface. This work not only provides a critical understanding of the mechanistic underpinnings of the deformation of layered solids and formation of kink boundaries, but also provides a more complete description of the nucleation mechanics of ripplocations and their strain field dependence.

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