, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 838-847,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 30 Sep 2009

Characterization of Strain-Rate Sensitivity and Grain Boundary Structure in Nanocrystalline Gold-Copper Alloys


The power-law dependence of strength on strain rate provides a measure of the strain-rate sensitivity. In general, strength increases as grain size decreases from the microscale into the nanoscale regime for many cubic metals. The method of microscratch testing is used to measure microhardness in order to evaluate material strength. The strain-rate dependence of hardness is measured by varying the microscratch velocity. New results for nanocrystalline gold alloys show that the exponent (m) of the power-law dependence of stress on strain rate increases to 0.20 as grain size decreases to values less than 10 nm. A high-resolution electron microscopy examination of grain boundary structure reveals that an increase in the strain-rate sensitivity exponent (m) is found with an increase in the grain boundary misorientation.

This article is based on a presentation given in the symposium entitled “Mechanical Behavior of Nanostructured Materials,” which occurred during the TMS Spring Meeting in San Francisco, CA, February 15–19, 2009, under the auspices of TMS, the TMS Electronic, Magnetic, and Photonic Materials Division, the TMS Materials Processing and Manufacturing Division, the TMS Structural Materials Division, the TMS Nanomechanical Materials Behavior Committee, the TMS Chemistry and Physics of Materials Committee, and the TMS/ASM Mechanical Behavior of Materials Committee.