Journal of Thermal Spray Technology

, Volume 25, Issue 1–2, pp 82–93 | Cite as

Room Temperature Deformation Mechanisms of Alumina Particles Observed from In Situ Micro-compression and Atomistic Simulations

  • Pylin SarobolEmail author
  • Michael Chandross
  • Jay D. Carroll
  • William M. Mook
  • Daniel C. Bufford
  • Brad L. Boyce
  • Khalid Hattar
  • Paul G. Kotula
  • Aaron C. Hall
Peer Reviewed


Aerosol deposition (AD) is a solid-state deposition technology that has been developed to fabricate ceramic coatings nominally at room temperature. Sub-micron ceramic particles accelerated by pressurized gas impact, deform, and consolidate on substrates under vacuum. Ceramic particle consolidation in AD coatings is highly dependent on particle deformation and bonding; these behaviors are not well understood. In this work, atomistic simulations and in situ micro-compressions in the scanning electron microscope, and the transmission electron microscope (TEM) were utilized to investigate fundamental mechanisms responsible for plastic deformation/fracture of particles under applied compression. Results showed that highly defective micron-sized alumina particles, initially containing numerous dislocations or a grain boundary, exhibited no observable shape change before fracture/fragmentation. Simulations and experimental results indicated that particles containing a grain boundary only accommodate low strain energy per unit volume before crack nucleation and propagation. In contrast, nearly defect-free, sub-micron, single crystal alumina particles exhibited plastic deformation and fracture without fragmentation. Dislocation nucleation/motion, significant plastic deformation, and shape change were observed. Simulation and TEM in situ micro-compression results indicated that nearly defect-free particles accommodate high strain energy per unit volume associated with dislocation plasticity before fracture. The identified deformation mechanisms provide insight into feedstock design for AD.


alumina modeling nanoindentation 



B.L. Boyce, K. Hattar, and D.C. Bufford were supported by the Department of Energy (DOE) office of Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Science and Engineering. The authors acknowledge Sumitomo Chemical Co., LTD for supplying the alumina particles. We are grateful to C.B. Carter, P. Clem, D. Hirschfeld, H. Brown-Shaklee, R.D. Murphy, R. Tandon, and E.D. Reedy for valuable discussions. This work was performed, in part, at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), an Office of Science User Facility operated for the U.S. DOE Office of Science. This work is supported by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program at Sandia National Laboratories, a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MOV 3194 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (MOV 2198 kb)

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Supplementary material 3 (AVI 1634 kb)
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Supplementary material 4 (AVI 725 kb) (18.8 mb)
Supplementary material 5 (MOV 19292 kb)


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pylin Sarobol
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Chandross
    • 1
  • Jay D. Carroll
    • 1
  • William M. Mook
    • 1
  • Daniel C. Bufford
    • 1
  • Brad L. Boyce
    • 1
  • Khalid Hattar
    • 1
  • Paul G. Kotula
    • 1
  • Aaron C. Hall
    • 1
  1. 1.Sandia National LaboratoriesAlbuquerqueUSA

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