Fracture in a thin film of nanotwinned copper

Z Zeng and XY Li and L Lu and T Zhu, ACTA MATERIALIA, 98, 313-317 (2015).

DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2015.07.055

Nanotwinned Cu exhibits an unusual combination of ultra-high strength and high tensile ductility. However, its fracture behavior and associated microscopic mechanisms remain largely unexplored. Here we study the fracture in a free-standing thin film of nanotwinned Cu using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. For a pre-crack inclined to the twin boundary, MD simulations show a characteristic fracture mode of zigzag cracking, which arises due to periodic deflections of the crack path by twin boundaries. The mechanism of fracture involves the screw dislocation-mediated local thinning ahead of the crack, instead of cleavage fracture. Importantly, MD simulations show a unique fracture footprint of < 1 1 0 >-oriented crack edges, consistent with the previous experimental observation from in situ transmission electron microscopy. Our results reveal the toughening mechanisms by nanotwins and also have broader implications for understanding the mechanical failure of metallic thin films. (C) 2015 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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