Discovery of multimechanisms of screw dislocation interaction in bcc iron from open-ended saddle point searches

XY Wang and YF Wang and W Cai and HX Xu, PHYSICAL REVIEW MATERIALS, 6, 123602 (2022).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.6.123602

Dislocation motion and interactions determine mechanical properties in body-centered cubic (bcc) metallic materials. However, studying mechanisms for the screw dislocation interaction is fundamentally challenging since many underlying processes involve mesotimescales and atomistic resolution, currently inaccessible by either experimental techniques or continuum theoretical methods. In this paper, we develop a computational capability based on self-evolving atomistic kinetic Monte Carlo (SEAKMC) to sample the critical events and saddle point energies related to screw dislocations and their junctions. The method is first validated by calculating the stress dependence of Peierls barriers and formation energies of kink pairs and cross-slip kink pairs on a single screw dislocation in bcc iron. Then the method is applied to a binary junction of a pair of intersecting screw dislocations, the structure of which is crucial for low-temperature plastic deformation. We identify three important mechanisms: coplanar cross-slipping, jog-pinning, and a previously unknown unzipping mechanism during the evolution of the binary junction. The mechanisms are then further validated using classical molecular dynamics simulations. The computational capability developed in this paper provides an effective tool to evaluate screw dislocation related thermally activated events in complex stress conditions. The mechanisms discovered in this paper provide critical insights into temperature dependence of the anomalous slip, a breakdown of the Schmidt law, during the plastic deformation in bcc iron and can be generalized to other bcc metals.

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