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August 2nd, 2004
New Light on How Metals Change Shape at the Nanoscale
A nanocrystalline metal is one whose average grain size is measured in billionths of a meter, much smaller than in most ordinary metals. As the grain size of a metal shrinks, it can become many times stronger, but it also usually loses ductility. To take advantage of increasing strength with decreasing grain size, researchers must first understand a fundamental problem: by what processes do nanosized crystals of metal stretch, bend, or otherwise deform under strain?
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