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Published June 1, 2006 | metadata_only
Journal Article

Prediction of dislocation nucleation during nanoindentation of Al_3Mg by the orbital-free density functional theory local quasicontinuum method


The first-principles prediction of dislocation nucleation in metallic systems subject to realistically sized indenters requires a multiscale approach due to the prohibitive computational expense. The largest empirical atomistic simulations include at most a billion atoms, at the same time requiring the parameterization of new interactions whenever an additional species or crystal structure is added. The multiscale orbital-free density functional theory–local quasicontinuum (OFDFT-LQC) method overcomes these problems by using first-principles OFDFT to capture the atomic interactions while relying upon LQC to evolve the macroscopic system. We use this method to indent the (111) surface of a 2×2×1μm piece of L1_2 Al_3Mg. Using a localization criterion, the first dislocation is predicted to form off-axis on the slip plane in the direction after the indenter has penetrated 70 nm. Other popular dislocation nucleation criteria give different predictions. These results are strikingly similar to those for indentation into the (111) surface of Al, indicating that the underlying crystal structure, not the atomic identity, is the most important factor in determining the onset of plasticity.

Additional Information

© 2006 Taylor & Francis. (Received 5 October 2005; in final form 6 December 2005) We are grateful to the US Department of Defense for support through Brown University's MURI Center for the 'Design and Testing of Materials by Computation: A MultiScale Approach', the US Department of Energy through Caltech's ASCI/ASAP Center for the Simulation of the Dynamic Response of Solids, and Accelrys for providing the CASTEP software.

Additional details

August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023