Texture of Nanocrystalline Nickel: Probing the Lower Size Limit of Dislocation Activity

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Science  14 Dec 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6113, pp. 1448-1451
DOI: 10.1126/science.1228211

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The size of nanocrystals provides a limitation on dislocation activity and associated stress-induced deformation. Dislocation-mediated plastic deformation is expected to become inactive below a critical particle size, which has been proposed to be between 10 and 30 nanometers according to computer simulations and transmission electron microscopy analysis. However, deformation experiments at high pressure on polycrystalline nickel suggest that dislocation activity is still operative in 3-nanometer crystals. Substantial texturing is observed at pressures above 3.0 gigapascals for 500-nanometer nickel and at greater than 11.0 gigapascals for 20-nanometer nickel. Surprisingly, texturing is also seen in 3-nanometer nickel when compressed above 18.5 gigapascals. The observations of pressure-promoted texturing indicate that under high external pressures, dislocation activity can be extended down to a few-nanometers-length scale.

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