Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 46, Issue 20, pp 6596–6602 | Cite as

Microscale characterization of granular deformation near a crack tip

  • Helena JinEmail author
  • Wei-Yang Lu
  • Sandip Haldar
  • Hugh A. Bruck


This paper presents a study of microscale plastic deformation at the crack tip and the effect of microstructure feature on the local deformation of aluminum specimen during fracture test. Three-point bending test of aluminum specimen was conducted inside a scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging system. The crack tip deformation was measured in situ utilizing SEM imaging capabilities and the digital image correlation (DIC) full-field deformation measurement technique. The microstructure feature at the crack tip was examined to understand its effect on the local deformation fields. Microscale pattern that was suitable for the DIC technique was generated on the specimen surface using sputter coating through a copper mesh before the fracture test. A series of SEM images of the specimen surface were acquired using in situ backscattered electronic imaging (BEI) mode during the test. The DIC technique was then applied to these SEM images to calculate the full-field deformation around the crack tip. The grain orientation map at the same location was obtained from electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD), which was superimposed on a DIC strain map to study the relationship between the microstructure feature and the evolution of plastic deformation at the crack tip. This approach enables to track the initiation and evolution of plastic deformation in grains adjacent to the crack tip. Furthermore, bifurcation of the crack due to intragranular and intergranular crack growth was observed. There was also localization of strain along a grain boundary ahead of and parallel to the crack after the maximum load was reached, which was a characteristic of Dugdale–Barenblatt strip-yield zone. Thus, it appears that there is a mixture of effects in the fracture process zone at the crack tip where the weaker aspects of the grain boundary controls the growth of the crack and the more ductile aspects of the grains themselves dissipate the energy and the corresponding strain level available for these processes through plastic work.


Digital Image Correlation Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanic Fracture Process Zone Fracture Test Backscatter Electronic Imaging 



Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. Support provided by NSF under grant number DMR-0907122 is also greatly appreciated.


  1. 1.
    Klein PA, MacFadden SX, Bammann DJ, Hammi Y, Foulk JW, Antoun BR (2003) Sandia Report, SAND 2003-8804Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Wilkinson AJ, Hirsch PB (1997) Micron 28:279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Peters WH, Ranson WF (1982) Opt Eng 21:432Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sutton MA, Wolters WJ, Peters WH, Ranson WF, McNeill SR (1983) Image Vis Comput 1(3):133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chu TC, Ranson WF, Sutton MA, Peters WH (1985) Exp Mech 25(3):232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sutton MA, Cheng M, Peters WH, Chao YJ, McNeill SR (1986) Image Vis Comput 4(3):143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bruck HA, McNeill SR, Sutton MA, Peters WH (1989) Exp Mech 29:261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Berfield TA, Patel JK, Shimmin RG, Braun PV, Lambros J, Sottos NR (2007) Exp Mech 47(1):51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Scrivens WA, Luo Y, Sutton MA, Collette SA, Myrick ML, Miney P, Colavita PE, Reynolds AP, Li X (2007) Exp Mech 47(1):63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Collette SA, Sutton MA, Miney P, Reynolds AP, Li XD, Colavita PE, Scrivens WA, Luo Y, Sudarshan T, Muzykov P (2004) Nanotechnology 15(12):1812CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sun ZL, Lyons JS, McNeill SR (1997) Opt Lasers Eng 27(4):409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sutton MA, Li N, Joy DC, Reynolds AP, Li X (2007) Exp Mech 47(6):775CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Sutton MA, Li N, Garcia D, Cornille N, Orteau JJ, McNeill SR, Schreier HW, Li X, Reynolds AP (2007) Exp Mech 47(6):789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Jin H, Lu WY, Korellis J (2008) J Strain Anal Eng Des 43(8):719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Jin H, Haldar S, Bruck HA, Lu WY (2011) Exp Mech. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
  17. 17.
    Hutchinson JW (1968) J Mech Phys Solids 16:13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hutchinson JW (1968) J Mech Phys Solids 16:337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Rice JR, Rosencren GF (1968) J Mech Phys Solids 16:1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Dugdale DS (1960) J Mech Phys Solids 8:100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Barenblatt GI (1962) Adv Appl Mech 7:55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Li XD, Nardi P, Baek CW, Kim JM, Kim YK (2005) J Micromech Microeng 15(3):551CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helena Jin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wei-Yang Lu
    • 1
  • Sandip Haldar
    • 2
  • Hugh A. Bruck
    • 2
  1. 1.Mechanics of MaterialsSandia National LaboratoriesLivermoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations