Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Materials Science and Engineering

Major Professor

Yanfei Gao

Committee Members

Peter K. Liaw, George M. Pharr, John D. Landes


Inhomogeneous deformation fields arising from the grain-grain interactions in polycrystalline materials have been evaluated using a crystal plasticity finite element method and extensively compared to neutron diffraction measurements under fatigue crack growth conditions. The roles of intergranular deformation anisotropy, grain boundary damage, and non-common deformation mechanisms (such as twinning for hexagonal close packed crystals) are systematically evaluated. The lattice misorientation field can be used to determine the intragranular deformation behavior in polycrystals or to describe the deformation inhomogeneity due to dislocation plasticity in single crystals. The study of indentation-induced lattice misorientation fields in single crystals sheds lights on the understanding of the scale-dependent plasticity mechanisms.

A two-scale micromechanical analysis is performed to study the lattice strain distributions near a fatigue crack tip. The experimental finding of vanishing residual intergranular strain in polycrystals as the increase of the fully reversed loading cycles suggests the intergranular damage be the dominant failure mechanism. Our model predictions are compared to in situ neutron diffraction measurements of Ni-based superalloys under fatigue crack growth conditions. Predicted and measured lattice strains in the vicinity of fatigue crack tips illustrate the important roles played by the intergranular damage and the surrounding plasticity in fatigue growth.

Motivated by the synchrotron x-ray measurements of lattice rotation fields in single crystals under indentation, the effect of the orientation of slip systems on the 2D wedge indentation of a model single crystal is investigated. Furthermore, the crystallographic orientations of the indented solids are gradually rotated, resulting changes of lattice misorientation patterns under the indenter. These 2D simulations, as well as a 3D Berkovich indentation simulation, suggest a kinematic relationship between the lattice misorientation and crystalline slip fields.

Advanced structural materials such as light-weighted materials, nanocrystalline metals/alloys, and hierarchically structured alloys often encounter unconventional deformation mechanisms. The convolution of crystalline slip and deformation twin are considered in the hexagonal close packed polycrystals. Specifically, we have determined the lattice strain distributions near fatigue crack tips in Zircaloy-4, and the role of tensile-twins on intergranular strain evolution in a wrought Mg alloy, which compare favorable to available neutron diffraction measurements.

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