Exploration of the mechanisms of temperature-dependent grain boundary mobility: search for the common origin of ultrafast grain boundary motion

CJ O'Brien and SM Foiles, JOURNAL OF MATERIALS SCIENCE, 51, 6607-6623 (2016).

DOI: 10.1007/s10853-016-9944-1

The temperature dependence of grain boundary mobility is complex, varied, and rarely fits ideal Arrhenius behavior. This work presents a series of case studies of planar grain boundaries in a model FCC system that were previously demonstrated to exhibit a variety of temperature- dependent mobility behaviors. It is demonstrated that characterization of the mobility versus temperature plots is not sufficient to predict the atomic motion mechanism of the grain boundaries. Herein, the temperature-dependent motion and atomistic motion mechanisms of planar grain boundaries are driven by a synthetic, orientation-dependent, driving force. The systems studied include CSL boundaries with values of 5, 7, and 15, including both symmetric and asymmetric boundaries. These boundaries represent a range of temperature-dependent trends including thermally activated, antithermal, and roughening behaviors. Examining the atomic-level motion mechanisms of the thermally activated boundaries reveals that each involves a complex shuffle, and at least one atom that changes the plane it resides on. The motion mechanism of the antithermal boundary is qualitatively different and involves an in-plane coordinated shuffle that rotates atoms about a fixed atom lying on a point in the coincident site lattice. This provides a mechanistic reason for the observed high mobility, even at low temperatures, which is due to the low activation energy needed for such motion. However, it will be demonstrated that this mechanism is not universal, or even common, to other boundaries exhibiting non-thermally activated motion. This work concludes that no single atomic motion mechanism is sufficient to explain the existence of non-thermally activated boundary motion.

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