Discovery, characterization and modelling of novel shape memory behaviour of fcc metal nanowires

W Liang and M Zhou, PHILOSOPHICAL MAGAZINE, 87, 2191-2220 (2007).

DOI: 10.1080/14786430701280943

Novel shape memory behaviour was discovered recently in single- crystalline fcc nanowires of Cu, Ni and Au with lateral dimensions below 5 nm. Under proper thermomechanical conditions, these wires can recover elongations up to 50%. This phenomenon only exists at the nanoscale and is associated with reversible lattice reorientations within the fcc lattice structure driven by surface stresses. Whereas the propagation of partial dislocations and twin planes specific to fcc metals are the required mechanism, only materials with higher propensities for twinning (e.g. Cu and Ni) show this behaviour and those with lower propensities for twinning (e.g. Al) do not. This paper provides an overview of this novel behaviour with a focus on the transformation mechanism, driving force, reversible strain, size and temperature effects and energy dissipation. A mechanism-based micromechanical continuum model for the tensile behaviour is developed. This model uses a decomposition of the lattice reorientation process into a reversible, smooth transition between a series of phase-equilibrium states and a superimposed irreversible, dissipative propagation of a twin boundary. The reversible part is associated with strain energy functions with multiple local minima and quantifies the energy conversion process between the twinning phases. The irreversible part is due to the ruggedness of the strain energy landscape, associated with dislocation nucleation, gliding and annihilation, and characterizes the dissipation during the transformation. This model captures all major characteristics of the behaviour, quantifies the size and temperature effects and yields results which are in excellent agreement with data from molecular dynamics simulations.

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