Mechanical Failure Mode of Metal Nanowires: Global Deformation versus Local Deformation

DT Ho and Y Im and SY Kwon and YY Earmme and SY Kim, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 5, 11050 (2015).

DOI: 10.1038/srep11050

It is believed that the failure mode of metal nanowires under tensile loading is the result of the nucleation and propagation of dislocations. Such failure modes can be slip, partial slip or twinning and therefore they are regarded as local deformation. Here we provide numerical and theoretical evidences to show that global deformation is another predominant failure mode of nanowires under tensile loading. At the global deformation mode, nanowires fail with a large contraction along a lateral direction and a large expansion along the other lateral direction. In addition, there is a competition between global and local deformations. Nanowires loaded at low temperature exhibit global failure mode first and then local deformation follows later. We show that the global deformation originates from the intrinsic instability of the nanowires and that temperature is a main parameter that decides the global or local deformation as the failure mode of nanowires.

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