Transition of deformation mechanisms in nanotwinned single crystalline SiC

SZ Chavoshi and MA Tschopp and PS Branicio, PHILOSOPHICAL MAGAZINE, 99, 2636-2660 (2019).

DOI: 10.1080/14786435.2019.1637033

The ability to experimentally synthesise ceramic materials to incorporate nanotwinned microstructures can drastically affect the underlying deformation mechanisms and mechanics through the complex interaction between stress state, crystallographic orientation, and twin orientation. In this study, molecular dynamics simulations are used to examine the transition in deformation mechanisms and mechanical responses of nanotwinned zinc-blende SiC ceramics subjected to different stress states (uniaxial compressive, uniaxial tensile, and shear deformation) by employing various twin spacings and loading/crystallographic orientations in nanotwinned structures, as compared to their single crystal counterparts. The simulation results show that different combinations of stress states and crystal/twin orientation, and twin spacing trigger different deformation mechanisms: (i) shear localised deformation and shear-induced fracture, preceded by point defect formation and dislocation slip, in the vicinity of the twin lamellae, shear band formation, and dislocation (emission) avalanche; (ii) cleavage and fracture without dislocation plasticity, weakening the nanotwinned ceramics compared to their twin-free counterpart; (iii) severe localised deformation, generating a unique zigzag microstructure between twins without any structural phase transformations or amorphisation, and (iv) atomic disordering localised in the vicinity of coherent twin boundaries, triggering dislocation nucleation and low shearability compared to twin-free systems.

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