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      High-pressure strengthening in ultrafine-grained metals

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          Revealing the maximum strength in nanotwinned copper.

          The strength of polycrystalline materials increases with decreasing grain size. Below a critical size, smaller grains might lead to softening, as suggested by atomistic simulations. The strongest size should arise at a transition in deformation mechanism from lattice dislocation activities to grain boundary-related processes. We investigated the maximum strength of nanotwinned copper samples with different twin thicknesses. We found that the strength increases with decreasing twin thickness, reaching a maximum at 15 nanometers, followed by a softening at smaller values that is accompanied by enhanced strain hardening and tensile ductility. The strongest twin thickness originates from a transition in the yielding mechanism from the slip transfer across twin boundaries to the activity of preexisting easy dislocation sources.
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            A maximum in the strength of nanocrystalline copper.

            We used molecular dynamics simulations with system sizes up to 100 million atoms to simulate plastic deformation of nanocrystalline copper. By varying the grain size between 5 and 50 nanometers, we show that the flow stress and thus the strength exhibit a maximum at a grain size of 10 to 15 nanometers. This maximum is because of a shift in the microscopic deformation mechanism from dislocation-mediated plasticity in the coarse-grained material to grain boundary sliding in the nanocrystalline region. The simulations allow us to observe the mechanisms behind the grain-size dependence of the strength of polycrystalline metals.
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              Deformation twinning in nanocrystalline aluminum.

              We report transmission electron microscope observations that provide evidence of deformation twinning in plastically deformed nanocrystalline aluminum. The presence of these twins is directly related to the nanocrystalline structure, because they are not observed in coarse-grained pure aluminum. We propose a dislocation-based model to explain the preference for deformation twins and stacking faults in nanocrystalline materials. These results underscore a transition from deformation mechanisms controlled by normal slip to those controlled by partial dislocation activity when grain size decreases to tens of nanometers, and they have implications for interpreting the unusual mechanical behavior of nanocrystalline materials.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                February 24 2020
                Article
                10.1038/s41586-020-2036-z
                32094661
                fe1cadf5-bd05-4629-b53f-3ef642b7aa47
                © 2020

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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