Nanograin size effects on deformation mechanisms and mechanical properties of nickel: A molecular dynamics study

AM Barboza and IN Bastos and LCR Aliaga, MATERIALS EXPRESS, 11, 1841-1855 (2021).

DOI: 10.1166/mex.2021.2091

The grain size refinement of metallic materials to the nanometer scale produces interesting properties compared to the coarse-grained counterparts. Their mechanical behavior, however, cannot be explained by the classical deformation mechanisms. Using molecular dynamics simulations, the present work examines the influence of IP: On: Mon, 22 Nov 2021 08:01:49 grain size on the deformation mechanisms and mechanical properties of nanocrystalline nickel. Samples with Copyright: American Scientific Publishers Delivered by Ingenta grain sizes from 3.2 to 24.1 nm were created using the Voronoi tessellation method and simulated in tensile and relaxation tests. The yield and ultimate tensile stresses follow an inverse Hall- Petch relationship for grain sizes below ca. 20 nm. For samples within the conventional Hall-Petch regime, no perfect dislocations were observed. Nonetheless, a few extended dislocations were nucleated from triple junctions, suggesting that the suppression of conventional slip mechanism is not uniquely responsible for the inverse Hall-Petch behavior. For samples respecting the inverse Hall-Petch regime, the high number of triple junctions and grain boundaries allowed grain rotation, grain boundary sliding, and diffusion-like behavior that act as competitive deformation mechanisms. For all samples, the atomic configuration analysis showed that Shockley partial dislocations are nucleated at grain boundaries, crossing the grain before being absorbed in opposite grain boundaries, leaving behind stacking faults. Interestingly, the stress relaxation tests showed that the strain rate sensitivity decreases with grain size for a specific grain size range, whereas for grains below approximately 10 nm, the strain rate sensitivity increases as observed experimentally. Repeated stress relaxation tests were also performed to obtain the effective activation volume parameter. However, the expected linear trend in pertinent plots required to obtain this parameter was not found.

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