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Julia R. Greer's picture

Effective Use of Focused Ion Beam (FIB) in Investigating Fundamental Mechanical Properties of Metals at the Sub-Micron Scale

I would like to share some of our more recent findings on nano-pillar compression, namely the role of the surface treatment in plastic deformation at the nano-scale. Recent advances in the 2-beam focused ion beams technology (FIB) have enabled researchers to not only perform high-precision nanolithography and micro-machining, but also to apply these novel fabrication techniques to investigating a broad range of materials' properties at the sub-micron and nano-scales. In our work, the FIB is utilized in manufacturing of sub-micron cylinders, or nano-pillars, as well as of TEM cross-sections to directly investigate plasticity of metals at these small length scales. Single crystal nano-pillars, ranging in diameter between 300 nm and 870 nm, were fabricated in the FIB from epitaxial gold films on MgO substrates and subsequently compressed using a Nanoindenter fitted with a custom-fabricated diamond flat punch. We show convincingly that flow stresses strongly depend on the sample size, as some of our smaller specimens were found to plastically deform in uniaxial compression at stresses as high as 600 MPa, a value ~25 times higher than for bulk gold. We believe that these high strengths are hardened by dislocation starvation. In this mechanism, once the sample is small enough, the mobile dislocations have a higher probability of annihilating at a nearby free surface than of multiplying and being pinned by other dislocations. Contrary to this, if the dislocations are trapped inside the specimen by a coating, the strengthening mechanism is expected to be different. Here we present for the first time the comparison of plastic deformation of passivated and unpassivated single crystal specimens at the sub-micron scale. The role of free surfaces is investigated by comparing stress results of both as-FIB'd, annealed, and alumina-passivated pillars. Preliminary results show that ALD-coated pillars exhibit much higher flow stresses at equivalent sizes and strains compared with the uncoated samples. We also found that while FIB damage during pillar fabrication might account for a small portion of the strength increase, it is not the major contributor.


Singular elastic stress fields are generally developed at sharp re-entrant corners and at the end of bonded interfaces between dissimilar elastic materials. This behaviour can present difficulties in both analytical and numerical solution of such problems. For example, excessive mesh refinement might be needed in a finite element solution.

Arash_Yavari's picture

A Theory of Anharmonic Lattice Statics for Analysis of Defective Crystals

This paper develops a theory of anharmonic lattice statics for the analysis of defective complex lattices. This theory differs from the classical treatments of defects in lattice statics in that it does not rely on harmonic and homogeneous force constants. Instead, it starts with an interatomic potential, possibly with in¯nite range as appropriate for situations with electrostatics, and calculates the equilibrium states of defects. In particular, the present theory accounts for the differences in the force constants near defects and in the bulk. The present formulation reduces the analysis of defective crystals to the solution of a system of nonlinear difference equations with appropriate boundary conditions. A harmonic problem is obtained by linearizing the nonlinear equations, and a method for obtaining analytical solutions is described in situations where one can exploit symmetry. It is then extended to the anharmonic problem using modified Newton-Raphson iteration. The method is demonstrated for model problems motivated by domain walls in ferroelectric materials.

Surface Roughness and Electrical Contact Resistance

J.R.Barber The contact of rough surfaces Surfaces are rough on the microscopic scale, so contact is restricted to a few `actual contact areas'. If a current flows between two contacting bodies, it has to pass through these areas, causing an electrical contact resistance. The problem can be seen as analogous to a large number of people trying to get out of a hall through a small number of doors.

Classical treatments of the problem are mostly based on the approximation of the surfaces as a set of `asperities' of idealized shape. The real surfaces are represented as a statistical distribution of such asperities with height above some datum surface. However, modern measurement techniques have shown surfaces have multiscale, quasi-fractal characteristics over a wide range of length scales. This makes it difficult to decide on what scale to define the asperities.

Ken P. Chong's picture

Call for proposals on advanced high strength steel

The Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) of NSF and the DOE Office of Freedom CAR and Vehicle Technologies intend to co-sponsor proposals addressing fundamental research issues in advanced high strength steels (AHSS). Specifically, proposals focused on

  1. AHSS materials development and characterization,
  2. predictive modeling that integrates AHSS material structure and product performance, and
  3. fundamental research in the area of processing and manufacturing of AHSS, are of interest. This collaborative effort is a direct outcome of the Advanced High Strength Steel Workshop.

Interested PIs should consider submitting an unsolicited proposal to the core programs of the CMMI Division namely, (1) Materials Processing & Manufacturing (MPM), (2) Materials Design & Surface Engineering (MDSE), (3) Applications & Structural Mechanics, or (4) Mechanics & Structures of Materials (MSM), during the January 15, 2007 to February 15, 2007 submission window. Unsolicited proposals in response to this letter should have titles beginning with "AHSS:".  Proposals from the March-April 2007 panel review will be eligible for co-funding, pending availability of funds.

MichelleLOyen's picture

Journal Club Theme of January 2007: Biomechanics and Non-Affine Kinematics

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Biological materials are frequently constructed of hydrated biopolymer networks. Examples include fibrous collagen in the extracellular matrix and actin within the cell's cytoskeleton. There are differences in the molecular composition of the biopolymer subunits as well as differences in the network density and organization. Images can be seen here and here for dense collagen networks and for portions of actin networks look at images here and here.

Call for papers: Computer Applications in Research and Development of Complex Mechanical Systems

Call for papers: Computer Applications in Research and Development of Complex Mechanical Systems

A special issue of the International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology  (IJCAT)

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Luis Dorfmann's picture

Nonlinear Electroelastic Deformations

Electro-sensitive (ES) elastomers form a class of smart materials whose mechanical properties can be changed rapidly by the application of an electric field. These materials have attracted considerable interest recently because of their potential for providing relatively cheap and light replacements for mechanical devices, such as actuators, and also for the development of artificial muscles. In this paper we are concerned with a theoretical framework for the analysis of boundary-value problems that underpin the applications of the associated electromechanical interactions. We confine attention to the static situation and first summarize the governing equations for a solid material capable of large electroelastic deformations. The general constitutive laws for the Cauchy stress tensor and the electric field vectors for an isotropic electroelastic material are developed in a compact form following recent work by the authors. The equations are then applied, in the case of an incompressible material, to the solution of a number of representative boundary-value problems. Specifically, we consider the influence of a radial electric field on the azimuthal shear response of a thick-walled circular cylindrical tube, the extension and inflation characteristics of the same tube under either a radial or an axial electric field (or both fields combined), and the effect of a radial field on the deformation of an internally pressurized spherical shell.


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Hi every body:

I'm searching for some one that can help me about the boundary conditions on the wall for a based fluid including nanoparticles. The most dominant phenomena is the thermophoresis effect, and also close to wall the Brownain effect seems be important.


Nonlinear elasticity of biological gels

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I would like to propose the recent papers by Janmey, P.A., and coworkers on the nonlinear elasticity behavior of biopolymer gels for "biomechanics" issue in J Club. In their original work, they proposed the biopolymer network model composed of semi-flexible polymers that behave like a worm-like-chain (WLC) model. Their models surprisingly capture the mechanical response of biopolymer gels such as neuro-filaments. The details of their work are as follows:

Teng Li's picture

Delocalizing Strain in a Thin Metal Film on a Polymer Substrate

Teng Li, Zhenyu Huang, Zhichen Xi, Stephanie P. Lacour, Sigurd Wagner, Zhigang Suo, Mechanics of Materials, 37, 261-273 (2005).

Under tension, a freestanding thin metal film usually ruptures at a smaller strain than its bulk counterpart. Often this apparent brittleness does not result from cleavage, but from strain localization, such as necking. By volume conservation, necking causes local elongation. This elongation is much smaller than the film length, and adds little to the overall strain. The film ruptures when the overall strain just exceeds the necking initiation strain, εN , which for a weakly hardening film is not far beyond its elastic limit. Now consider a weakly hardening metal film on a steeply hardening polymer substrate. If the metal film is fully bonded to the polymer substrate, the substrate suppresses large local elongation in the film, so that the metal film may deform uniformly far beyond εN. If the metal film debonds from the substrate, however, the film becomes freestanding and ruptures at a smaller strain than the fully bonded film; the polymer substrate remains intact. We study strain delocalization in the metal film on the polymer substrate by analyzing incipient and large-amplitude nonuniform deformation, as well as debond-assisted necking. The theoretical considerations call for further experiments to clarify the rupture behavior of the metal-on-polymer laminates.

Related posts and discussions

Tension of Cu film on Pi substrate
Local thinning of Cu film
High ductility of a metal film adherent on a polymer substrate

Intergranular fracture

Microcracks form by a mixture of local thinning and intergranular fracture in a 170-nm-thick Cu film that is well bonded to a polyimide substrate and is stretched to a strain of 30%. Details can be found in this paper. A related forum topic can be found

High ductility of a metal film adherent on a polymer substrate

In recent development of deformable electronics, it has been noticed that thin metal films often rupture at small tensile strains. Here we report experiments with Cu films deposited on polymeric substrates, and show that the rupture strains of the metal films are sensitive to their adhesion to the substrates. Well-bonded Cu films can sustain strains up to 10% without appreciable cracks, and up to 30% with discontinuous microcracks. By contrast, poorly bonded Cu films form channel cracks at strains about 2%. The cracks form by a mixture of strain localization and intergranular fracture.

Teng Li's picture

Mechanics of flexible macroelectronics

The following entry was first posted in on 8 May 2006.

Flat-panel displays are rapidly replacing cathode-ray tubes as the monitors of choice for computers and televisions, a commercial success that has opened the era of macroelectronics, in which transistors and other micro-components are integrated over large areas. In addition to the flat-panel displays, other macroelectronic products include x-ray imagers, thin-film solar cells, and thin-film antennas.
Like a microelectronic product, a macroelectronic product consists of many thin-film components of small features. While microelectronics advances by miniaturizing features, macroelectronics does so by enlarging systems. Macroelectronic products today are mostly fabricated on substrates of glass or silicon; they are expensive, fragile and not readily portable when their areas are large. To reduce cost and enhance portability, future innovation will come from new choice of materials and of manufacturing processes. For example, thin-film devices on thin polymer substrates lend themselves to roll-to-roll fabrication, resulting in lightweight, rugged and flexible products. These macroelectronic products will have diverse architectures, hybrid materials, and small features. Their mechanical behavior during manufacturing and use poses significant challenges to the creation of the new technologies.

A recent review paper by Suo et al. describes ongoing work in the emerging field of research – mechanics of flexible macroelectronics, with emphasis on the mechanical behavior at the scale of individual features, and over a long time. The following topics have been discussed in the paper:

Konstantin Volokh's picture

Griffith controversy

Using the Griffith energy method for analysis of cavitation under hydrostatic tension we conclude that the critical tension tends to infinity when the cavity radius approaches zero (IJSS, 2006, doi: 10.1016/j.ijsolstr.2006.12.022). The conclusion is physically meaningless, of course. Moreover, if we assume that the failure process occurs at the edge of the cavity then the critical tension should be length-independent for small but finite cavities while the Griffith analysis always exhibits length-dependence. The main Griffith idea - introduction of the surface energy - is controversial because it sets up the characteristic length, say, surface energy over volume energy. By no means is this approach in peace with the length-independent classical continuum mechanics.

The Ranking of Mechanics Related Journals (2004)

Based on a survey from Journal Citation Report (JCR), we listed below the 2004 Journal Impact Factors (IF) for some mechanics, material science, and solid state physics related scientific journals. Our list and information may not be complete. We welcome readers' input, comments, and information. We also caution readers that using IF as the sole criterion to rank scientific journals' academic reputation may not be objective nor true to a journal's actual scientific merits.

Which are the benchmark problems for a numerical method ?

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Hello mechanicians,

Please help me with some following questions.

Which are the benchmark problems must be tested for a new numerical method in 1D, 2D, and 3D ?

If there are two methods, with what criterions we can say one is better than other in such a particular problem? in all problems ?

And who supposed above rules ?

I look forward to your replies.

Happy new year to all !

Tienchong Chang's picture

Nonlinear stick-spiral model for predicting mechanical behavior of single-walled carbon nanotubes

(PRB,74,245428,2006)  Based on a molecular mechanics concept, a nonlinear stick-spiral model is developed to investigate the mechanical behavior of single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs). The model is capable of predicting not only the initial elastic properties (e.g., Young’s modulus) but also the stress-strain relations of a SWCNT under axial, radial, and torsion conditions. The elastic properties, ultimate stress, and failure strain under various loading conditions are discussed and special attentions have been paid to the effects of the tube chirality and tube size. Some unique mechanical behaviors of chiral SWCNTs, such as axial strain-induced torsion, circumferential strain-induced torsion, and shear strain-induced extension are also studied. The predicted results from the present model are in good agreement with existing data, but very little computational cost is needed to yield them.

A "cool" way to remove hydrogen...and possibly a faster way to grow better crystals?

In growth of essentially every compound material such as GaN, one element always diffuses faster than the other(s) at the growth front. To grow good-quality materials, even the most sluggish element has to be sufficiently mobile, forcing materials growers to go to higher growth temperatures.


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