Atomistic simulation of the stacking fault energy and grain shape on strain hardening behaviours of FCC nanocrystalline metals

L Yuan and P Jing and R Shivpuri and CL Xu and ZH Xu and DB Shan and B Guo, PHILOSOPHICAL MAGAZINE, 99, 2818-2840 (2019).

DOI: 10.1080/14786435.2019.1643959

Ultra-fine grained copper with nanotwins is found to be both strong and ductile. It is expected that nanocrystalline metals with lamella grains will have strain hardening behaviour. The main unsolved issues on strain hardening behaviour of nanocrystalline metals include the effect of stacking fault energy, grain shape, temperature, strain rate, second phase particles, alloy elements, etc. Strain hardening makes strong nanocrystalline metals ductile. The stacking fault energy effects on the strain hardening behaviour are studied by molecular dynamics simulation to investigate the uniaxial tensile deformation of the layer-grained and equiaxed models for metallic materials at 300 K. The results show that the strain hardening is observed during the plastic deformation of the layer-grained models, while strain softening is found in the equiaxed models. The strain hardening index values of the layer-grained models decrease with the decrease of stacking fault energy, which is attributed to the distinct stacking fault width and dislocation density. Forest dislocations are observed in the layer-grained models due to the high dislocation density. The formation of sessile dislocations, such as Lomer-Cottrell dislocation locks and stair-rod dislocations, causes the strain hardening behaviour. The dislocation density in layer-grained models is higher than that in the equiaxed models. Grain morphology affects dislocation density by influencing the dislocation motion distance in grain interior.

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