Grain size effect on the plastic deformation of nanocrystalline silver

The plastic deformation of nanocrystalline Ag, with columnar grains, has been studied by molecular dynamics simulations. The nanocrystalline systems show two types of deformation mechanisms. One is the split of grain boundary that occurs before the activation of the dislocation in nanocrystalline Ag, and almost no dislocation debris and twins are left in the grains. Moreover, split of grain boundary is shown between the grains of nanocrystalline Ag. Another mechanism consists in partial dislocations dominating the process of plastic deformation. Plenty of stacking faults and twins remain in the grains of nanocrystalline Ag. It is revealed that different grain aspect ratios have induced the difference in deformation mechanisms of nanocrystalline Ag. When the grain aspect ratio is less than or equal to 1, the process of plastic deformation is dominated by partial dislocations. Otherwise, the process is dominated by split of grain boundary. The grain aspect ratio is the height in z direction to length in x direction ratio, which was found to noticeably impact yield strength, grain coarsening, indicating that the observed behaviour should have contributed to the plastic deformation significantly.