The critical role of grain orientation and applied stress in nanoscale twinning

Rodney J. McCabe, Irene J. Beyerlein, John S. Carpenter, Nathan A. Mara

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60 Scopus citations


Numerous recent studies have focused on the effects of grain size on deformation twinning in nanocrystalline fcc metals. However, grain size alone cannot explain many observed twinning characteristics. Here we show that the propensity for twinning is dependent on the applied stress, grain orientation and stacking fault energy. The lone factor for twinning dependent on grain size is the stress necessary to nucleate partial dislocations from a boundary. We use bulk processing of controlled nanostructures coupled with unique orientation mapping at the nanoscale to show the profound effect of crystal orientation on deformation twinning. Our theoretical model reveals an orientation-dependent critical threshold stress for twinning, which is presented in the form of a generalized twinnability map. Our findings provide a newfound orientation-based explanation for the grain size effect: as grain size decreases the applied stress needed for further deformation increases, thereby allowing more orientations to reach the threshold stress for twinning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3806
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - May 9 2014

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