PerspectiveMaterials Science

Watching Grains Deform

Science  23 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5512, pp. 2330-2331
DOI: 10.1126/science.1060345

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The plastic deformation of polycrystalline materials from rocks to metal foils has been difficult to understand because experimental data could only be obtained before and after but not during deformation. But as Heidelbach explains in his Perspective, a new method reported by Margulies et al. enables deformation of single crystals inside a polycrystalline matrix to be monitored in situ while the deforming stress is applied. The method should lead to important advances in understanding plastic deformation behavior.