A mesoscale finite element simulation of intermittent plastic flow of micropillar compression under hybrid loading mode


The plastic deformation of the micropillar proceeds as a series of strain bursts, showing an intermittent plastic flow. In this work, we present a stochastic finite element method in crystal plasticity to describe the intermittent characteristic of crystal deformation under the hybrid loading mode (HLM). The microscopic boundary conditions(MBCs) using the HLM are studied and they are demonstrated to be different in various deformation periods such as loading stage, burst slip and holding stage, which occur alternatively as the plastic flow proceeds. In order to determine the MBCs, we use the Monte Carlo (MC) stochastic model to predict the amplitude of the burst displacement and then incorporate such model into our established continuum framework accounting for the characteristics of the strain burst. By implementing this continuum model into the finite element analysis, we predict the plastic flow of single crystal nickel micropillars that deform under uniaxial compression along the [2 6 9] crystalline direction. The simulation results indicate clearly visible strain bursts in the course of plastic deformation, producing a stair-case like stress-strain behavior that agrees well with experimental observations. The computational results reveal that the intermittent flow in the micrometer-scale is intensified due to the increasing amplitude of the strain burst, as well as the occurrence of successive strain bursts rather than the discrete strain bursts, with decreasing of the specimen size. In addition, the micropillar displacement in the context of burst activity predicted from our simulations is similar to the experimental observations. We demonstrate that our simulation method could provide further insights into the intermittent plastic flow characteristics such as burst time duration, micropillar velocity; plus, it is feasible to apply this method to investigate the plastic flow behaviors under complex loading conditions

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