- About Us
- Career Center
- Nano-Social Network
- Nano Consulting
- My Account
|Atomic Strength: A material science team led by Brown University engineers has found that the deformation of nanotwinned metals is characterized by the motion of highly ordered, necklace-like patterns of crystal defects called dislocations. Credit: Huajian Gao and Xiaoyan Li/Brown University|
A material science team led by Brown University engineers has found that the deformation of nanotwinned metals is characterized by the motion of highly ordered, necklace-like patterns of crystal defects called dislocations.
Materials scientists have known that a metal's strength (or weakness) is governed by dislocation interactions, a messy exchange of intersecting fault lines that move or ripple within metallic crystals. But what happens when metals are engineered at the nanoscale? Is there a way to make metals stronger and more ductile by manipulating their nanostructures?
Brown University scientists may have figured out a way. In a paper published in Nature, Huajian Gao and researchers from the University of Alabama and China report a new mechanism that governs the peak strength of nanostructured metals. By performing 3-D atomic simulations of divided grains of nanostructured metals, Gao and his team observed that dislocations organize themselves in highly ordered, necklace-like patterns throughout the material. The nucleation of this dislocation pattern is what determines the peak strength of materials, the researchers report.
The finding could open the door to producing stronger, more ductile metals, said Gao, professor of engineering at Brown. "This is a new theory governing strength in materials science," he added. "Its significance is that it reveals a new mechanism of material strength that is unique for nanostructured materials."
Divide a grain of metal using a specialized technique, and the pieces may reveal boundaries within the grain that scientists refer to as twin boundaries. These are generally flat, crystal surfaces that mirror the crystal orientations across them. The Chinese authors created nanotwinned boundaries in copper and were analyzing the space between the boundaries when they made an interesting observation: The copper got stronger as the space between the boundaries decreased from 100 nanometers, ultimately reaching a peak of strength at 15 nanometers. However, as the spacing decreased from 15 nanometers, the metal got weaker.
"This is very puzzling," Gao said.
So Gao and Brown graduate student Xiaoyan Li dug a little further. The Brown scientists reproduced their collaborators' experiment in computer simulations involving 140 million atoms. They used a supercomputer at the National Institute for Computational Sciences in Tennessee, which allowed them to analyze the twin boundaries at the atomic scale. To their surprise, they saw an entirely new phenomenon: A highly ordered dislocation pattern controlled by nucleation had taken hold and dictated the copper's strength. The pattern was characterized by groups of atoms near the dislocation core and assembled in highly ordered, necklace-like patterns.
"They're not getting in each other's way. They're very organized," Gao said.
From the experiments and the computer modeling, the researchers theorize that at the nanoscale, dislocation nucleation can become the governing principle to determining a metal's strength or weakness. The authors presented a new equation in the Nature paper to describe the principle.
"Our work provides a concrete example of a source-controlled deformation mechanism in nanostructured materials for the first time and, as such, can be expected to have a profound impact on the field of materials science," Gao said.
The other researchers who contributed to the paper are Yujie Wei from the University of Alabama and Ke Lu and Lei Lu from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The U.S. National Science Foundation, the National Science Foundation in China and the Ministry of Science and Technology in China funded the research.
For more information, please click here
Copyright © Brown UniversityIf you have a comment, please Contact us.
Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
|Related News Press|
News and information
New approach to determining how atoms are arranged in materials August 25th, 2016
Designing ultrasound tools with Lego-like proteins August 29th, 2016
Thomas Swan and NGI announce unique partnership July 28th, 2016
Meteorite impact on a nano scale August 29th, 2016
Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016
Semblant to Present at China Mobile Manufacturing Forum 2016 August 25th, 2016
Meteorite impact on a nano scale August 29th, 2016
New theory could lead to new generation of energy friendly optoelectronics: Researchers at Queen's University Belfast and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have created a new theoretical framework which could help physicists and device engineers design better optoelectronics August 23rd, 2016
Researchers watch catalysts at work August 19th, 2016