In-Situ Full-Field Strain Measurement at the Sub-grain Scale Using the Scanning Electron Microscope Grid Method


Full-field measurement techniques are invaluable tools for investigating material behavior across length-scales. In the current work, a full-field measurement technique, the Grid Method, is implemented within a scanning electron microscope to demonstrate its ability to capture deformation heterogeneities at sub-grain length-scales. Microgrids, fabricated using focused ion beam platinum deposition are positioned on multiple areas with different underlying microstructure of an aluminum 1100 oligo-crystal. In-situ scanning electron microscope tensile testing is then conducted while capturing micrographs of the deposited grids after individual loading increments. Strain maps are generated through localized spectral analysis of a reference (non-deformed) and deformed micrographs. The strain maps exhibit intragranular and transgranular heterogeneities. The current work demonstrates the successful implementation and promise of the SEM grid method for extracting strain maps at reduced length-scales.

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The authors would like to thank Jeff Kessler, the director of the Solid Mechanics testing Suite at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Utah for provided training on the use of the Psylotech loadframe. Special thanks to Mitch Metcalf for his collaboration with the in-situ testing set up preparation. This work has also made use of the University of Utah USTAR shared facilities supported, in part, by the MRSEC program of the NSF under award No. DMR-1121252. This research is being performed using funding received from the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program (DOE-NEUP) under award No. DE-NE0008799.

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Mirmohammad, H., Gunn, T. & Kingstedt, O.T. In-Situ Full-Field Strain Measurement at the Sub-grain Scale Using the Scanning Electron Microscope Grid Method. Exp Tech 45, 109–117 (2021).

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  • SEM-GM
  • SEM in-situ testing
  • FIB platinum deposition
  • Microscale full-field measurement technique
  • Aluminum oligo-crystal microstructure characterization