Role of molecule flexibility on the nucleation of dislocations in molecular crystals

LB Munday and RL Mitchell and J Knap and PW Chung, APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS, 103, 151911 (2013).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4824711

We show that a molecule's flexibility described by changes to its conformation and orientation during deformation is vital for the proper representation of dislocation nucleation in molecular crystals. This is shown for the molecular crystal hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-s-triazine (RDX) by comparing direct atomistic simulations to two alternate forms of a continuum dislocation nucleation model for a crack tip loaded in pure shear. The atomistic simulations show the emission of partial dislocations. These are compared to continuum dislocation nucleation models based on generalized stacking fault (GSF) energy surfaces where the molecules are allowed to be either rigid or flexible. The rigid molecules are unable to represent the partial dislocations whereas the flexible molecules agree with the direct atomistic model to within 17% of the stress intensity factor for emission of the first partial dislocation and to within 1% for the second partial. This agreement first indicates that the molecule flexibility serves a critical role in the ductile behavior of the molecular crystal and, second, the continuum dislocation nucleation model represents the correct atomistic behavior, showing two partial dislocations connected by a stacking fault, when parameterized with GSF energy surfaces that account for the molecule flexibility. (C) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.

Return to Publications page