Yu's Research Group
School of Materials Science and Engineering.
Center of Electron Microscopy, Zhejiang University.


      Structural alloys are often strengthened through the addition of solute atoms. However, given that solute atoms interact weakly with the elastic fields of screw dislocations, it has long been accepted that solution hardening is only marginally effective in materials with mobile screw dislocations. By using transmission electron microscopy and nanomechanical characterization, we report that the intense hardening effect of dilute oxygen solutes in pure α-Ti is due to the interaction between oxygen and the core of screw dislocations that mainly glide on prismatic planes. First-principles calculations reveal that distortion of the interstitial sites at the screw dislocation core creates a very strong but short-range repulsion for oxygen that is consistent with experimental observations. These results establish a highly effective mechanism for strengthening by interstitial solutes...

Deformation twinning in crystals is a highly coherent inelastic shearing process that controls the mechanical behaviour of many materials, but its origin and spatio-temporal features are shrouded inmystery. Using micro-compression and in situnano-compression experiments, here we find that the stress required for deformation twinning increases drastically with decreasing sample size of a titanium alloy single crystal, until the sample size is reduced to one micrometre, below which the deformation twinning is entirely replaced by less correlated, ordinary dislocation plasticity. Accompanying the transition in deformation mechanism, the maximum flow stress of the submicrometre-sized pillars was observed to saturate at a value close to titanium’s ideal strength. We develop a ‘stimulated slip’ model to explain the strong size dependence of deformation twinning. The sample size in transition is relatively large and easily accessible in experiments, making our understanding of size dependence relevant for applications.

      Damage tolerance can be an elusive characteristic of structural materials requiring both high strength and ductility, properties that are often mutually exclusive. High-entropy alloys are of interest in this regard. Specifically, the single-phase CrMnFeCoNi alloy displays tensile strength levels of B1 GPa, excellent ductility (~60–70%) and exceptional fracture toughness. Here through the use of in situ straining in an aberration-corrected transmission electron microscope, we report on the salient atomistic to micro-scale mechanisms underlying the origin of these properties. We identify a synergy of multiple deformation mechanisms, rarely achieved in metallic alloys, which generates high strength, work hardening and ductility, including the easy motion of Shockley partials, their interactions to form stacking-fault parallelepipeds, and arrest at planar slip bands of undissociated dislocations. We further show that crack propagation is impeded by twinned, nanoscale bridges that form between the near-tip crack faces and delay fracture by shielding the crack tip.

     Sublimation is an important endothermic phase transition in which the atoms break away from their neighbors in the crystal lattice and are removed into the gas phase. Such de-bonding process may be significantly influenced by dislocations- the crystal defect that changes the bonding environment of local atoms. By performing systematic defects characterization and in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) tests on a core-shell MgO-Mg system, which enables us to “modulate” the internal dislocation density, we investigated the role of dislocations on materials’ sublimation with particular focus on the sublimation kinetics and mechanism. It was observed that the sublimation rate increases significantly with dislocation density. As the density of screw dislocations is high, the intersection of screw dislocation spirals creates a large number of monatomic ledges, resulting in a “liquid-like” motion of solid-gas interface, which significantly deviates from the theoretically predicted sublimation plane...
Nature 574, 223-227 (10 October 2019) |https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1617-1

      High-entropy alloys are a class of materials that contain five or more elements in near-equiatomic proportions. Their unconventional compositions and chemical structures hold promise for achieving unprecedented combinations of mechanical properties. Rational design of such alloys hinges on an understanding of the composition–structure–property relationships in a near-infinite compositional space. Here we use atomic-resolution chemical mapping to reveal the element distribution of the widely studied face-centred cubic CrMnFeCoNi Cantor alloy and of a new face-centred cubic alloy, CrFeCoNiPd. In the Cantor alloy, the distribution of the five constituent elements is relatively random and uniform. By contrast, in the CrFeCoNiPd alloy, in which the palladium atoms have a markedly different atomic size and electronegativity from the other elements, the homogeneity decreases considerably; all five elements tend to show greater aggregation, with a wavelength of incipient concentration waves as small as 1 to 3 nanometres. The resulting nanoscale alternating tensile and compressive strain fields lead to considerable resistance to dislocation glide. In situ transmission electron microscopy during straining experiments reveals massive dislocation crossslip from the early stage of plastic deformation, resulting in strong dislocation interactions between multiple slip systems. These deformation mechanisms in the CrFeCoNiPd alloy, which differ markedly from those in the Cantor alloy and other face-centred cubic high-entropy alloys, are promoted by pronounced fluctuations in composition and an increase in stacking-fault energy, leading to higher yield strength without compromising strain hardening and tensile ductility. Mapping atomic-scale element distributions opens opportunities for understanding chemical structures and thus providing a basis for tuning composition and atomic configurations to obtain outstanding mechanical properties.
Tuning element distribution, structure and ...
Origin of dramatic oxygen solute strengthening...

Strong Crystal Size Effect on Deformation Twinning
Nanoscale origins of the damage tolerance of...
in Situ Observation on Dislocation-Controlled...
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