Consecutive crystallographic reorientations and superplasticity in body-centered cubic niobium nanowires

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Science Advances  06 Jul 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 7, eaas8850
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aas8850

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Plasticity of metallic nanowires is often controlled by the activities of single deformation mode. It remains largely unclear whether multiple deformation modes can be activated in an individual metallic nanowire and how much plasticity they can contribute. In situ nanomechanical testing reveals a superior plastic deformation ability of body-centered cubic (BCC) niobium nanowires, in which a remarkable elongation of more than 269% is achieved before fracture. This superplastic deformation originates from a synergy of consecutively nucleated multiple reorientation processes that occur for more than five times via three distinct mechanisms, that is, stress-activated phase transformation, deformation twinning, and slip-induced crystal rotation. These three coupled mechanisms work concurrently, resulting in sequential reorientations and therefore superplastic deformation of Nb nanowires. Our findings reveal a superior mechanical property of BCC Nb nanowires through the close coordination of multiple deformation modes, which may have some implications in other metallic nanowire systems.

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