Tracking Microstructure of Crystalline Materials: A Post-Processing Algorithm for Atomistic Simulations

JF Panzarino and TJ Rupert, JOM, 66, 417-428 (2014).

DOI: 10.1007/s11837-013-0831-9

Atomistic simulations have become a powerful tool in materials research due to the extremely fine spatial and temporal resolution provided by such techniques. To understand the fundamental principles that govern material behavior at the atomic scale and directly connect to experimental works, it is necessary to quantify the microstructure of materials simulated with atomistics. Specifically, quantitative tools for identifying crystallites, their crystallographic orientation, and overall sample texture do not currently exist. Here, we develop a post- processing algorithm capable of characterizing such features, while also documenting their evolution during a simulation. In addition, the data is presented in a way that parallels the visualization methods used in traditional experimental techniques. The utility of this algorithm is illustrated by analyzing several types of simulation cells that are commonly found in the atomistic modeling literature but could also be applied to a variety of other atomistic studies that require precise identification and tracking of microstructure.

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