Suppression of shear banding in high-strength Cu/Mo nanocomposites with hierarchical bicontinuous intertwined structures

Yuchi Cui, Benjamin Derby, Nan Li, Nathan A. Mara, Amit Misra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The microstructures and mechanical behavior of high-temperature co-sputtered Cu/Mo nanocomposites were investigated and compared with Cu/Mo multilayers. The co-sputtered nanocomposites present hierarchical architectures with bicontinuous intertwined Cu/Mo phases, the feature size of which can be tuned from 35 to 3 nm by changing the deposition parameters. After indentation, shear bands were found in the multilayers but not in the hierarchical nanocomposites. In situ nanocompression tests in Transmission electron microscopy showed that the hierarchical nanocomposite containing fine-length-scale intertwined Cu/Mo phases has very high strength. The hierarchical structure is proposed to play an important role in suppressing shear band formation. Impact statement Cu/Mo nanocomposites with novel hierarchical architecture containing bicontinuous intertwined structures were fabricated through co-sputtering. High strength and good deformability were achieved in the nanocomposites through in situ nanomechanical testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-190
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials Research Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 4 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation [grant number 1533557].

Funding Information:
This research is sponsored by NSF-CMMI under the DMREF program. Electron microscopy was performed at the Michigan Center for Materials Characterization operated by the College of Engineering, University of Michigan. Sputter depositions were performed at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, an Office of Science User Facility operated for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The authors are grateful for discussions with M.J. Demkowicz, J.K. Baldwin, R.G. Hoagland and K. Sun.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Metallic nanocomposites
  • co-sputtering
  • deformability
  • nanomechanics


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