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Concept: Work hardening


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.

Concepts: Metal, Solid mechanics, Nickel, Metalworking, Work hardening, Deformation, Dislocation, Ductility


A wide variety of industrial applications require materials with high strength and ductility. Unfortunately, the strategies for increasing material strength, such as processing to create line defects (dislocations), tend to decrease ductility. We developed a strategy to circumvent this in inexpensive, medium Mn steel. Cold rolling followed by low-temperature tempering developed steel with metastable austenite grains embedded in a highly dislocated martensite matrix. This deformed and partitioned (D&P) process produced dislocation hardening, but retained high ductility both through the glide of intensive mobile dislocations and by allowing us to control martensitic transformation. The D&P strategy should apply to any other alloy with deformation-induced martensitic transformation and provides a pathway for development of high strength, high ductility materials.

Concepts: Tensile strength, Steel, Austenite, Crystallographic defect, Work hardening, Martensite, Cementite, Tempering


Arapaima gigas, a fresh water fish found in the Amazon Basin, resist predation by piranhas through the strength and toughness of their scales, which act as natural dermal armour. Arapaima scales consist of a hard, mineralized outer shell surrounding a more ductile core. This core region is composed of aligned mineralized collagen fibrils arranged in distinct lamellae. Here we show how the Bouligand-type (twisted plywood) arrangement of collagen fibril lamellae has a key role in developing their unique protective properties, by using in situ synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering during mechanical tensile tests to observe deformation mechanisms in the fibrils. Specifically, the Bouligand-type structure allows the lamellae to reorient in response to the loading environment; remarkably, most lamellae reorient towards the tensile axis and deform in tension through stretching/sliding mechanisms, whereas other lamellae sympathetically rotate away from the tensile axis and compress, thereby enhancing the scale’s ductility and toughness to prevent fracture.

Concepts: Continuum mechanics, Tensile strength, Amazon River, Freshwater fish, Amazon Basin, Work hardening, Deformation, Plastic deformation in solids


The term ‘exploded hand syndrome’ refers to a specific type of crush injury to the hand in which a high compressive force excessively flattens the hand leading to thenar muscle extrusion through burst lacerations. Out of 89 crushed hands seen over a period of seven years, only five had exploded hand syndrome. They were all male industrial workers ranging in age between 24 and 55 years. All patients had thenar muscle extrusion. Other concurrent injuries included fractures/dislocations, compartment syndrome, and ischaemia. All patients were treated by excision of the extruded intrinsic muscles, as well as primary management of concurrent injuries. All patients had functional assessment including: motor power and sensory testing, range of motion of hand joints, and the quick DASH score. Objective testing showed reduced sensibility in the thumb, reduced grip strength (mean 52% of contralateral hand), reduced pinch strength (mean of 27% of contralateral hand), reduced thumb opposition (the mean Kapandji Score was 5 out of 10), and deficits in the range of motion of the metacarpophalangeal and interphalangeal joints of the thumb. The quick DASH score ranged from 11 to 49 and only two patients were able to go back to regular manual work.

Concepts: Injury, Hand, Median nerve, Hand strength, Grip strength, Thumb, Thenar eminence, Work hardening


Dislocation mobility is a fundamental material property that controls strength and ductility of crystals. An important measure of dislocation mobility is its Peierls stress, i.e., the minimal stress required to move a dislocation at zero temperature. Here we report that, in the body-centered cubic metal tantalum, the Peierls stress as a function of dislocation orientation exhibits fine structure with several singular orientations of high Peierls stress-stress spikes-surrounded by vicinal plateau regions. While the classical Peierls-Nabarro model captures the high Peierls stress of singular orientations, an extension that allows dislocations to bend is necessary to account for the plateau regions. Our results clarify the notion of dislocation kinks as meaningful only for orientations within the plateau regions vicinal to the Peierls stress spikes. These observations lead us to propose a Read-Shockley type classification of dislocation orientations into three distinct classes-special, vicinal, and general-with respect to their Peierls stress and motion mechanisms. We predict that dislocation loops expanding under stress at sufficiently low temperatures, should develop well defined facets corresponding to two special orientations of highest Peierls stress, the screw and the M111 orientations, both moving by kink mechanism. We propose that both the screw and the M111 dislocations are jointly responsible for the yield behavior of BCC metals at low temperatures.

Concepts: Crystal structure, Temperature, Aluminium, Metal, Cubic crystal system, Work hardening, Plasticity, Space group


PURPOSE: Acute elbow instability leading to dislocation is thought to be a spectrum initiated by an injury to the lateral stabilizing structures of the elbow. Previous cadaveric studies have shown elbow dislocations to occur in flexion. The purpose of this study was to analyze videographic evidence of the deforming forces and upper extremity position during elbow dislocations. We sought to corroborate previous biomechanics studies with in vivo observations. METHODS: We included 62 videos with a clear videographic view of an elbow dislocation. Three senior elbow surgeons independently evaluated arm position at the time of dislocation, along with the suspected deforming forces at the elbow based on these positions. RESULTS: Of the 62 visualized elbow dislocation events, the vast majority (92%) dislocated at or near full extension. The most common arm positions were forearm pronation (68%) with shoulder abduction (97%) and forward flexion (63%). The typical elbow deforming forces were a valgus moment (89%), an axial load (90%), and progressive supination (94%). We identified 4 discrete patterns of arm position and deforming forces. CONCLUSIONS: Acute elbow dislocations in vivo occur in relative extension irrespective of forearm position, a finding distinct from previous cadaveric studies. The most common mechanism appears to involve a valgus moment to an extended elbow, which suggests a requisite disruption of the medial collateral ligament, the known primary constraint to valgus force. These videographic findings suggest that some acute elbow dislocations may result from acute valgus instability and therefore are distinct in nature and mechanism from posterolateral rotatory instability. This information could lead to improved understanding of the sequence of structural failure, modification of rehabilitation protocols, and overall treatment. TYPE OF STUDY/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Diagnostic IV.

Concepts: Knee, Shoulder, Forearm, Upper limb, Joint dislocation, Work hardening, Dislocation, Pronation


PURPOSE: In the present study we evaluated a novel processing technique for the continuous production of hotmelt extruded controlled release matrix systems. A cutting technique derived from plastics industry, where it is widely used for cutting of cables and wires was adapted into the production line. Extruded strands were shaped by a rotary-fly cutter. Special focus is laid on the development of a process analytical technology by evaluating signals obtained from the servo control of the rotary fly cutter. The intention is to provide a better insight into the production process and to offer the ability to detect small variations in process-variables. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A co-rotating twin-screw extruder ZSE 27 HP-PH from Leistritz (Nürnberg, Germany) was used to plasticize the starch; critical extrusion parameters were recorded. Still elastic strands were shaped by a rotary fly-cutter type Dynamat 20 from Metzner (Neu-Ulm, Germany). Properties of the final products were analyzed via digital image analysis to point out critical parameters influencing the quality. Important aspects were uniformity of diameter, height, roundness, weight and variations in the cutting angle. Stability of the products was measured by friability tests and by determining the crushing strength of the final products. Drug loading studies up to 70% were performed to evaluate the capacity of the matrix and to prove the technological feasibility. Changes in viscosities during API addition were analyzed by a Haake Minilab capillary rheometer. X-ray studies were performed to investigate molecular structures of the matrices. RESULTS: External shapes of the products were highly affected by die-swelling of the melt. Reliable reproducibility concerning uniformity of mass could be achieved even for high production rates (>2500 cuts/min). Both mechanical strength and die swelling of the products could be linked to the ratio of amylose to amylopectin. Formulations containing up to 70% of API could still be processed. Viscosity measurements revealed the plasticizing effect caused by API addition. Dissolution data proved the suitability of extruded starch matrices as a sustained release dosage form. Monitoring of consumed energies during the cutting process could be linked to changes in viscosity. The established PAT system enables the detection of small variations in material properties and can be an important tool to further improve process stability.

Concepts: Viscosity, Strength of materials, Compressive strength, Work hardening, Industry, Extrusion, Rheometer, Starch gelatinization


Metal‒organic frameworks (MOFs) are a class of fascinating supramolecular soft matters but with relatively weak mechanical strength. To enforce MOF materials for practical applications, one possible way seems to be transforming them into harder composites with a stronger secondary phase. Apparently, such a reinforcing phase must possess larger porosity for ionic or molecular species to travel into or out of MOFs without altering their pristine physicochemical properties. Herein we report a general synthetic approach to coat microporous MOFs and their derivatives with an enforcing shell of mesoporous silica (mSiO2). Four well-known MOFs (ZIF-8, ZIF-7, UiO-66 and HKUST-1), representing two important families of MOFs, have served as a core phase in nanocomposite products. We show that significant enhancement in mechanical properties (hardness and toughness) can indeed be achieved with this “armoring approach”. Excellent accessibility of the mSiO2 wrapped MOFs and their metal-containing nanocomposites has also been demonstrated with catalytic reduction of 4-nitrophenol.

Concepts: Matter, Electrochemistry, Materials science, Silicon compounds, Nanocomposite, Work hardening, Hardness, Toughness


Grain refinement can make conventional metals several times stronger, but this comes at dramatic loss of ductility. Here we report a heterogeneous lamella structure in Ti produced by asymmetric rolling and partial recrystallization that can produce an unprecedented property combination: as strong as ultrafine-grained metal and at the same time as ductile as conventional coarse-grained metal. It also has higher strain hardening than coarse-grained Ti, which was hitherto believed impossible. The heterogeneous lamella structure is characterized with soft micrograined lamellae embedded in hard ultrafine-grained lamella matrix. The unusual high strength is obtained with the assistance of high back stress developed from heterogeneous yielding, whereas the high ductility is attributed to back-stress hardening and dislocation hardening. The process discovered here is amenable to large-scale industrial production at low cost, and might be applicable to other metal systems.

Concepts: Aluminium, Metal, Silver, Nickel, Metalworking, Work hardening, Dislocation, Metallic bond


Stacking fault tetrahedra (SFTs) are ubiquitous defects in face-centered cubic metals. They are produced during cold work plastic deformation, quenching experiments or under irradiation. From a dislocation point of view, the SFTs are comprised of a set of stair-rod dislocations at the (110) edges of a tetrahedron bounding triangular stacking faults. These defects are extremely stable, increasing their energetic stability as they grow in size. At the sizes visible within transmission electron microscope they appear nearly immobile. Contrary to common belief, we show in this report, using a combination of molecular dynamics and temperature accelerated dynamics, how small SFTs can diffuse by temporarily disrupting their structure through activated thermal events. More over, we demonstrate that the diffusivity of defective SFTs is several orders of magnitude higher than perfect SFTs, and can be even higher than isolated vacancies. Finally, we show how SFTs can coalesce, forming a larger defect in what is a new mechanism for the growth of these omnipresent defects.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Metal, Crystallographic defect, Work hardening, Dislocation, Tetrahedron, Plasticity