Nanomechanics of plasticity in ultra-strength metals and shape memory alloys
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We study the plasticity mechanisms of diffusionless martensite phase transformation in Nickel-Titanium, one of the most widely used shape memory alloys. The research here involves four thrusts focusing on different length and time scales: (I) Molecular statics and dynamics simulations are applied to study the nanotwin structures and temperature-driven B2 → B19′ phase transitions. (II) Molecular dynamics simulations are performed to explore the stress-driven martensitic phase transformation governing the pseudoelasticity and shape memory effects in NiTi nanopillars. (III) Monte Carlo simulations are conducted to characterize the temperature- driven B2 → B19 phase transition and the patterning of martensitic nanotwins in NiTi thin films. (IV) Phase field simulations are performed to predict the formation and evolution of complex martensitic microstructures, including the detailed analysis of twin compatibility under complex loading conditions. We also study the nucleation-controlled plasticity mechanisms in different metals of Cu, Al and Ni. Our work focuses on understanding how dislocations nucleate in single crystals. Interatomic potential finite element method is applied to determine when, where and how dislocations nucleate during nanoindentation in metals such as Cu, Al and Ni.