Direct observation of individual dislocation interaction processes with grain boundaries

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Science Advances  11 Nov 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 11, e1501926
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501926

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In deformation processes, the presence of grain boundaries has a crucial influence on dislocation behavior; these boundaries drastically change the mechanical properties of polycrystalline materials. It has been considered that grain boundaries act as effective barriers for dislocation glide, but the origin of this barrier-like behavior has been a matter of conjecture for many years. We directly observe how the motion of individual dislocations is impeded at well-defined high-angle and low-angle grain boundaries in SrTiO3, via in situ nanoindentation experiments inside a transmission electron microscope. Our in situ observations show that both the high-angle and low-angle grain boundaries impede dislocation glide across them and that the impediment of dislocation glide does not simply originate from the geometric effects; it arises as a result of the local structural stabilization effects at grain boundary cores as well, especially for low-angle grain boundaries. The present findings indicate that simultaneous consideration of both the geometric effects and the stabilization effects is necessary to quantitatively understand the dislocation impediment processes at grain boundaries.

  • Materials science
  • mechanical property
  • plastic deformation
  • dislocation
  • grain boundary
  • in situ transmission electron microscopy

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