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Computational modelling of the mechanical behavior of nanocrystalline metals based on the deformation mechanisms and their transitions


There has been a growing research interest in understanding the mechanical behaviors and the deformation mechanisms of nanocrystalline metals and alloys in the past a few decades, due to their extraordinary mechanical prosperities, such as high strength, hardness, and wear resistance, which have great potentials in engineering applications. As grain sizes in crystalline metals and alloys transit down to the lower end of the nanometer range, the plastic deformations are no longer dominated by the intragrain dislocation activities. Instead deformations assisted by grain boundary start to play a more important role in deciding the mechanical response of the bulk materials, as the interfacial volume fraction increases with the reduction of grain sizes. A polycrystalline constitutive theory is developed in the form of the extend aggregate Taylor model of Asaro and Needleman for the nanocrystalline metals. The plastic deformation description is based on the Asaro, Krysl and Kad (AKK) model, which considers deformation mechanisms such as the emission of perfect, partial dislocations and deformation twins from grain boundary and grain boundary sliding when the grain size is sufficiently small in the nanometer regime (less than 100nm), and their transitions are governed by the factors such as grain size, stacking fault energy, temperature, and strain rate, etc. Therefore the effect of grain size distributions in addition to the mean grain size is considered important on the mechanical response in this constitutive theory. The grain size distributions can be simulated with the experimentally determined lognormal distributions for the electro- deposited nanocrystalline metals for example. Numerical simulations are carried out for nanocrystalline Ni, Cu, Al and Pd, and the simulated phenomena include the mechanical response of these materials when subjected to uniaxial tension and compression under different deformation rates, texture development under high pressure torsion (HPT), and the grain growth effect during nanoindentation, etc, where the contribution of each deformation mechanism is carefully studied. The obtained numerical results are in reasonably good agreement with the experiments. Due to the fact that the deformation mechanisms in nanostructured materials are not yet fully understood, this constitutive theory will need to be further improved with the future findings of deformation mechanisms, which this theory has the flexibility to easily incorporate

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