Size dependent deformation behaviour and dislocation mechanisms in <100> Cu nanowires

G. Sainath , P. Rohith and B. K. Choudhary, Philosophical Magazine, 97, 2632-2657 (2017).

Molecular dynamics simulations have been performed to understand the size-dependent tensile deformation behaviour of 〈1 0 0〉 Cu nanowires at 10 K. The influence of nanowire size has been examined by varying square cross- section width (d) from 0.723 to 43.38 nm using constant length of 21.69 nm. The results indicated that the yielding in all the nanowires occurs through nucleation of partial dislocations. Following yielding, the plastic deformation in small size nanowires occurs mainly by slip of partial dislocations at all strains, while in large size nanowires, slip of extended dislocations has been observed at high strains in addition to slip of partial dislocations. Further, the variations in dislocation density indicated that the nanowires with d > 3.615 nm exhibit dislocation exhaustion at small strains followed by dislocation starvation at high strains. On the other hand, small size nanowires with d < 3.615 nm displayed mainly dislocation starvation at all strains. The average length of dislocations has been found to be same and nearly constant in all the nanowires. Both the Young’s modulus and yield strength exhibited a rapid decrease at small size nanowires followed by gradual decrease to saturation at larger size. The observed linear increase in ductility with size has been correlated with the pre- and post-necking deformation. Finally, dislocation– dislocation interactions leading to the formation of various dislocation locks, the dislocation–stacking fault interactions resulting in the annihilation of stacking faults and the size dependence of dislocation–surface interactions have been discussed.

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