Shear-coupled grain boundary migration assisted by unusual atomic shuffling

LL Niu and Y Zhang and XL Shu and F Gao and S Jin and HB Zhou and GH Lu, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 6, 23602 (2016).

DOI: 10.1038/srep23602

Shear-coupled grain boundary (GB) migration can be an efficacious mechanism to accommodate plastic deformation when the grain size of polycrystalline materials goes small. Nevertheless, how this kind of GB motion comes into play at the atomic level has not been fully revealed. Here, we have investigated the shear-coupled migration (SCM) of typical 100 group symmetrical tilt GBs in bcc W using atomistic simulations. Depending on GB character, the SCM is found to proceed via dislocation slipping in the < 100 > or < 110 > mode with striking shear strength difference between them. We demonstrate that there exists an unusual atomic shuffling along the tilt axis, which greatly assists SCM to operate in the easier < 110 > mode instead of the < 100 > one. The present results highlight the significant role of GB character in the atomistic SCM process and contribute to the future design and fabrication of high-performance materials in GB engineering.

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