Nanoindentation of hcp metals: a comparative simulation study of the evolution of dislocation networks

IA Alhafez and CJ Ruestes and Y Gao and HM Urbassek, NANOTECHNOLOGY, 27, 045706 (2016).

DOI: 10.1088/0957-4484/27/4/045706

Using molecular dynamics simulation, we study the nanoindentation of three hcp metals: Mg, Ti, and Zr. Both the basal and two prismatic surface planes are considered. We focus on the characterization of the plasticity generated in the crystal. The similarities to, and the differences from, the behavior of the more commonly investigated fcc and bcc metals are highlighted. We find that hcp metals show a larger variety than the fcc and bcc metals studied up until now. The prolific emission of prismatic loops can lead to extended plastic zones. The size of the plastic zone is quantified by the ratio f of the plastic zone radius to the radius of the contact area. We find values of between 1.6 (an almost collapsed zone) and > 5; in the latter case, complex dislocation networks build up which are extended in the direction of easy glide.

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