Investigating the deformation of nanocrystalline copper with microscale kinematic metrics and molecular dynamics

GJ Tucker and S Tiwari and JA Zimmerman and DL McDowell, JOURNAL OF THE MECHANICS AND PHYSICS OF SOLIDS, 60, 471-486 (2012).

DOI: 10.1016/j.jmps.2011.11.007

Atomistic simulations are employed to investigate the deformation of nanocrystalline copper and the associated strain accommodation mechanisms at 10 K as a function of grain size. Volume-averaged kinematic metrics based on continuum mechanics theory are formulated to analyze the results of molecular dynamics simulations. The metrics rely on both reference and current configurations, along with nearest neighbor lists to estimate nanoscale behavior of atomic deformation fields in nanocrystalline copper. Various deformation mechanisms are activated in the structures, and shown to depend on average grain size of the nanocrystalline structure. Furthermore, grain boundaries, along with dislocation glide, become an important source of strain accommodation as grain size is reduced. It is demonstrated that the metrics capture the contributions of various mechanisms, and provide a sense of the history of atomic regions undergoing both elastic and plastic deformation. The significance of this research is that unique kinematic signatures of the mechanisms are uncovered using certain metrics, and we are able to resolve the contributions of the deformation mechanisms to the overall strain of the structure using Green strain. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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