Mechanistic coupling of dislocation and shear transformation zone plasticity in crystalline-amorphous nanolaminates

B Cheng and JR Trelewicz, ACTA MATERIALIA, 117, 293-305 (2016).

DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2016.07.011

The deformation behavior of crystalline-amorphous nanolaminates is explored through molecular dynamics simulations using nanolaminate models that contain columnar nanograins in the crystalline layers to more closely resemble experimentally accessible nanolaminate structures. Quantitative analysis of the plastic strain distribution among competing mechanisms and their coupling at the nanoscale is accomplished through the implementation of continuum deformation metrics. The transfer of plastic strain between shear transformation zone (STZ) and dislocation plasticity initially transpires through the emission of dislocations from STZ activity impinging on the amorphous-crystalline interface (ACI). The addition of grain boundaries biases this process to regions near the boundaries at low strains, which reduces the activation barrier for the onset of dislocation plasticity. With increasing strain, dislocations are absorbed into the amorphous layers via slip transfer across the ACI, in turn triggering the activation of new STZs. Cooperative slip transfer between dislocations and STZs suppresses grain boundary micro cracking collectively with large-scale shear localization, and provides an explanation for the enhanced toughness of crystalline-amorphous nanolaminates. (C) 2016 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Acta Materialia Inc.

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