Experimental Mechanics

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 5–23 | Cite as

A Review of Fatigue Behavior in Nanocrystalline Metals

  • H. A. PadillaII
  • B. L. BoyceEmail author


Nanocrystalline metals have been shown to exhibit unique mechanical behavior, including break-down in Hall-Petch behavior, suppression of dislocation-mediated plasticity, induction of grain boundary sliding, and induction of mechanical grain coarsening. Early research on the fatigue behavior of nanocrystalline metals shows evidence of improved fatigue resistance compared to traditional microcrystalline metals. In this review, experimental and modeling observations are used to evaluate aspects of cyclic plasticity, microstructural stability, crack initiation processes, and crack propagation processes. In cyclic plasticity studies to date, nanocrystalline metals have exhibited strongly rate-dependent cyclic hardening, suggesting the importance of diffusive deformation mechanisms such as grain-boundary sliding. The cyclic deformation processes have also been shown to cause substantial mechanically-induced grain coarsening reminiscent of coarsening observed during large-strain monotonic deformation of nanocrystalline metals. The crack-initiation process in nanocrystalline metals has been associated with both subsurface internal defects and surface extrusions, although it is unclear how these extrusions form when the grain size is below the scale necessary for persistent slip band formation. Finally, as expected, nanocrystalline metals have very little resistance to crack propagation due to limited plasticity and the lack of crack path tortuosity among other factors. Nevertheless, like bulk metallic glasses, nanocrystalline metals exhibit both ductile fatigue striations and metal-like Paris-law behavior. The review provides both a comprehensive critical survey of existing literature and a summary of key areas for further investigation.


Fatigue Nanocrystalline Alloy Ultra-fine grained Failure 


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Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Materials Science and Engineering CenterSandia National LaboratoriesAlbuquerqueUSA

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