Direct observation of Lomer-Cottrell Locks during strain hardening in nanocrystalline nickel by in situ TEM
OPEN Scientific reports | 16 Jan 2013
JH Lee, TB Holland, AK Mukherjee, X Zhang and H Wang
Strain hardening capability is critical for metallic materials to achieve high ductility during plastic deformation. A majority of nanocrystalline metals, however, have inherently low work hardening capability with few exceptions. Interpretations on work hardening mechanisms in nanocrystalline metals are still controversial due to the lack of in situ experimental evidence. Here we report, by using an in situ transmission electron microscope nanoindentation tool, the direct observation of dynamic work hardening event in nanocrystalline nickel. During strain hardening stage, abundant Lomer-Cottrell (L-C) locks formed both within nanograins and against twin boundaries. Two major mechanisms were identified during interactions between L-C locks and twin boundaries. Quantitative nanoindentation experiments recorded show an increase of yield strength from 1.64 to 2.29 GPa during multiple loading-unloading cycles. This study provides both the evidence to explain the roots of work hardening at small length scales and the insight for future design of ductile nanocrystalline metals.
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