Mechanism of crack healing at room temperature revealed by atomistic simulations

J Li and QH Fang and B Liu and Y Liu and YW Liu and PH Wen, ACTA MATERIALIA, 95, 291-301 (2015).

DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2015.06.006

Three dimensional molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are systematically carried out to reveal the mechanism of the crack healing at room temperature, in terms of the dislocation shielding and the atomic diffusion to control the crack closure, in a copper (Cu) plate suffering from a shear loading. The results show that the process of the crack healing is actualized through the dislocation emission at a crack tip accompanied with intrinsic stacking faults ribbon forming in the crack tip wake, the dislocation slipping in the matrix and the dislocation annihilation in the free surface. Dislocation included stress compressing the crack tip is examined from the MD simulations and the analytical models, and then the crack closes rapidly due to the assistance of the atomic diffusion induced by the thermal activation when the crack opening displacement is less than a threshold value. This phenomenon is very different from the previous results for the crack propagation under the external load applied because of the crack healing (advancing) largely dependent on the crystallographic orientations of crack and the directions of external loading. Furthermore, based on the energy characteristic and considering the crack size effect, a theoretical model is established to predict the relationships between the crack size and the shear stress which qualitatively agree well with that obtained in the MD simulations. (C) 2015 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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