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Probing Microplastic Deformation in Metallic Materials


Ni, Xiaoyue (2018) Probing Microplastic Deformation in Metallic Materials. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/F38W-6N47.


Metallic materials deform through discrete displacement bursts that are commonly associated with abrupt dislocation activities, i.e. avalanches, during plastic flow. Dislocations might be active prior to the textbook yielding, but it is unclear whether these activities can be discerned as smaller strain events, i.e. microplasticity. Novel experimental approaches involving nanomechanical experiments are developed to detect and to quantify microplastic deformation that occurs during compression of micron- and sub-micron sized single crystalline copper nano-pillars. The experiment, focusing on metals’ pre-yield regime, reveals an evolving dissipation component in the storage and loss moduli that likely corresponds to a smooth transition from perfect elasticity to avalanche-dominated plastic deformation. This experimental investigation is corroborated by mesoscopic plasticity simulations, which apply to a minimal model that combines fast avalanche dynamics and slow relaxation processes of dislocations. The model's predictions are consistent with the microscopic experiments and provide constitutive relationship predicting microplastic crackling noise being upconverted by small stress perturbations. Another experimental investigation on unload-reload cyclic behavior of copper nano-pillars post yielding shows a decaying microplastic hysteresis with emergent power laws and scaling features, which signifies an ever-explored reversible-to- irreversible transitions in metal deformation, as seen in other nonequilibrium systems. To study microplasticity in macroscopic metallic samples, an instrument is custom-built based on Michelson interferometer and achieves unprecedented high displacement noise resolution of 10−14m/√Hz in the frequency range of 10 – 1000 Hz. The macroscopic experiment has resolved a driving-modulated microplastic noise in bulk cantilever steel samples under nominal elastic loading. The characteristics of the noise resemble those of the microplastic noise predicted from the micromechanical simulations developed from microscopic experiments.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Dislocation; Plasticity; Nanomechanics; Crackling noise; Michelson interferometry; LIGO;
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Materials Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Greer, Julia R. (advisor)
  • Adhikari, Rana (co-advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Johnson, William Lewis (chair)
  • Faber, Katherine T.
  • Dahmen, Karin A.
  • Greer, Julia R.
  • Adhikari, Rana
Defense Date:4 October 2017
Funding AgencyGrant Number
U.S. Department of EnergyDE-SC0006599
U.S. Department of EnergyDE-SC0016945
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:09202017-020239229
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.155501.DOIArticle adapted for Chapter 2
doi:10.1146/annurev-matsci-070115- 032036DOIArticle adapted for Chapter 3
doi:10.1063/1.4953114.DOIArticle adapted for Chapter 4
doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b03555DOIArticle adapted for Appendix A
Ni, Xiaoyue0000-0002-1822-1122
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:10441
Deposited By: Xiaoyue Ni
Deposited On:04 Jun 2018 19:53
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 00:27

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