Why are some Interfaces in Materials Stronger than others?

SJ Fensin and EK Cerreta and GT Gray and SM Valone, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 4, 5461 (2014).

DOI: 10.1038/srep05461

Grain boundaries (GBs) are often the preferred sites for void nucleation in ductile metals. However, it has been observed that all boundaries do not contribute equally to this process. We present a mechanistic rationale for the role of GBs in damage nucleation in copper, along with a quantitative map for predicting preferred void nucleation at GBs based on molecular dynamics simulations in copper. Simulations show a direct correlation between the void nucleation stress and the ability of a grain boundary to plastically deform by emitting dislocations, during shock compression. Plastic response of a GB, affects the development of stress concentrations believed to be responsible for void nucleation by acting as a dissipation mechanism for the applied stress.

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