Atomistic insights into dislocation-based mechanisms of void growth and coalescence

CW Mi and DA Buttry and P Sharma and DA Kouris, JOURNAL OF THE MECHANICS AND PHYSICS OF SOLIDS, 59, 1858-1871 (2011).

DOI: 10.1016/j.jmps.2011.05.008

One of the low-temperature failure mechanisms in ductile metallic alloys is the growth of voids and their coalescence. In the present work we attempt to obtain atomistic insights into the mechanisms underpinning cavitation in a representative metal, namely Aluminum. Often the pre- existing voids in metallic alloys such as Al have complex shapes (e.g. corrosion pits) and the defromation/damage mechanisms exhibit a rich size-dependent behavior across various material length scales. We focus on these two issues in this paper through large-scale calculations on specimens of sizes ranging from 18 thousand to 1.08 million atoms. In addition to the elucidation of the dislocation propagation based void growth mechanism we highlight the observed length scale effect reflected in the effective stress-strain response, stress triaxiality and void fraction evolution. Furthermore, as expected, the conventionally used Gurson's model fails to capture the observed size-effects calling for a mechanistic modification that incorporates the mechanisms observed in our (and other researchers') simulation. Finally, in our multi-void simulations, we find that, the splitting of a big void into a distribution of small ones increases the load-carrying capacity of specimens. However, no obvious dependence of the void fraction evolution on void coalescence is observed. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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