The Influence of Pore Size on the Indentation Behavior of Metallic Nanoporous Materials: A Molecular Dynamics Study

D Esque-de los Ojos and E Pellicer and J Sort, MATERIALS, 9, 355 (2016).

DOI: 10.3390/ma9050355

In general, the influence of pore size is not considered when determining the Young's modulus of nanoporous materials. Here, we demonstrate that the pore size needs to be taken into account to properly assess the mechanical properties of these materials. Molecular dynamics simulations of spherical indentation experiments on single crystalline nanoporous Cu have been undertaken in systems with: (i) a constant degree of porosity and variable pore diameter; and (ii) a constant pore diameter and variable porosity degree. The classical Gibson and Ashby expression relating Young's modulus with the relative density of the nanoporous metal is modified to include the influence of the pore size. The simulations reveal that, for a fixed porosity degree, the mechanical behavior of materials with smaller pores differs more significantly from the behavior of the bulk, fully dense counterpart. This effect is ascribed to the increase of the overall surface area as the pore size is reduced, together with the reduced coordination number of the atoms located at the pores edges.

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