Grain Boundary-Mediated Plasticity in Nanocrystalline Nickel

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Science  30 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5684, pp. 654-657
DOI: 10.1126/science.1098741

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The plastic behavior of crystalline materials is mainly controlled by the nucleation and motion of lattice dislocations. We report in situ dynamic transmission electron microscope observations of nanocrystalline nickel films with an average grain size of about 10 nanometers, which show that grain boundary–mediated processes have become a prominent deformation mode. Additionally, trapped lattice dislocations are observed in individual grains following deformation. This change in the deformation mode arises from the grain size–dependent competition between the deformation controlled by nucleation and motion of dislocations and the deformation controlled by diffusion-assisted grain boundary processes.

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