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Interpreting slip transmission through mechanically induced interface energies: a Fe–3%Si case study


Nanoindentation experiments are performed at the vicinity of grain boundaries, in Fe–Si tricrystals, to illustrate the existence of a critical stress at which slip transmission occurs across grain boundaries. Such a critical stress can be considered as a grain boundary yield stress and can be quantified within the framework of conventional gradient plasticity theory, enhanced by introducing a new mechanically induced “interface energy” term. The present study takes a first step in trying to provide a physical interpretation for this “far from thermodynamic equilibrium” interface energy term by conducting nanoindentation tests in three Fe–3wt%Si tricrystals, each of which had three distinct types of grain boundary misorientations, namely 22.5°, 42.0° and 44.6°. By relating the experimentally measured grain boundary yield stress to the predictions of interfacial gradient plasticity, it is possible to determine the interface parameter (\( \xi \)), which provides a measure of the resistance to slip transmission for each grain boundary examined. In particular, microscopic arguments from standard dislocation theory reveal that \( \xi \) depends on both the grain interior properties and the grain boundary structure. The internal length is shown to depend on multiple characteristic lengths of the microstructure, while a new expression is deduced for relating the Hall-Petch slope to both the interface parameter and internal length.

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KEA, HD and SAH are grateful for the financial support from the US Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Grant Nos. DE-SC0016306 and DE-SC0017715. HS and ST would like to acknowledge support form the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) KAKENHI Grant Number 16H06366. PL would like to acknowledge the support from the Czech Science Foundation (Grant No. P108/12/G043).

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Correspondence to K. E. Aifantis or S. Tsurekawa.

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Aifantis, K.E., Deng, H., Shibata, H. et al. Interpreting slip transmission through mechanically induced interface energies: a Fe–3%Si case study. J Mater Sci 54, 1831–1843 (2019).

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  • Slip Transfer
  • Grain Boundaries (GB)
  • Hall-Petch Slope
  • Internal Length
  • Gradient Plasticity