K. Zoller; S. Kalácska; P. D. Ispánovity; K. Schulz
Comptes Rendus Physique 22 (2021) 267-293
With decreasing system sizes, the mechanical properties and dominant deformation mechanisms of metals change. For larger scales, bulk behavior is observed that is characterized by a preservation and significant increase of dislocation content during deformation whereas at the submicron scale very localized dislocation activity as well as dislocation starvation is observed. In the transition regime it is not clear how the dislocation content is built up. This dislocation storage regime and its underlying physical mechanisms are still an open field of research. In this paper, the microstructure evolution of single crystalline copper micropillars with a 〈1 1 0〉 crystal orientation and varying sizes between 1 and 10 µm is analysed under compression loading. Experimental in situ HR-EBSD measurements as well as 3d continuum dislocation dynamics simulations are presented. The experimental results provide insights into the material deformation and evolution of dislocation structures during continuous loading. This is complemented by the simulation of the dislocation density evolution considering dislocation dynamics, interactions, and reactions of the individual slip systems providing direct access to these quantities. Results are presented that show, how the plastic deformation of the material takes place and how the different slip systems are involved. A central finding is, that an increasing amount of GND density is stored in the system during loading that is located dominantly on the slip systems that are not mainly responsible for the production of plastic slip. This might be a characteristic feature of the considered size regime that has direct impact on further dislocation network formation and the corresponding contribution to plastic hardening.