Indentation into an Al/Si composite: enhanced dislocation mobility at interface


Using molecular dynamics simulation, we study the indentation of a metal–ceramics (Al/Si) composite and compare it to that of the pure elements. An Al/Si interface running perpendicular to the surface is indented centrally. We find that—due to its higher stiffness and yield strength—Si expands into the Al side. As a consequence, the plasticity on the Al side is enhanced, leading to the formation of complex dislocation networks. On the Si side, the phase transformation from cubic diamond to bct5 structure, and subsequent amorphization near the indenter are accelerated, while the number of dislocations formed in the surviving cubic diamond phase is reduced. In both materials, the mobility of the dislocations is enhanced, in particular because the dislocations glide easily on the interface; as a consequence the composite is softer than the average of its constituents.

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Simulations were performed at the High Performance Cluster Elwetritsch (RHRK, TU Kaiserslautern, Germany). We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft via the International Research and Training Group 2057.

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Correspondence to Herbert M. Urbassek.

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Zhang, Z., Urbassek, H.M. Indentation into an Al/Si composite: enhanced dislocation mobility at interface. J Mater Sci 53, 799–813 (2018).

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  • Complex Dislocation Networks
  • Bct Phase
  • Perfect Dislocation
  • Indented Surface
  • Stillinger-Weber Potential