Size effects in uniaxial deformation of single and polycrystals: a discrete dislocation plasticity analysis

D.S. Balint, V.S. Deshpande, A. Needleman, E. van der Giessen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)
381 Downloads (Pure)


The effect of specimen size on the uniaxial deformation response of planar single crystals and polycrystals is investigated using discrete dislocation plasticity. The dislocations are all of edge character and modelled as line singularities in a linear elastic material. The lattice resistance to dislocation motion, dislocation nucleation, dislocation interaction with obstacles and dislocation annihilation are incorporated through a set of constitutive rules. Grain boundaries are modelled as impenetrable to dislocations. Two types of polycrystalline materials are considered: one that only has grains with a single orientation while the other has a checker-board arrangement of two types of grains which are rotated 90 degrees. with respect to each other. The single crystals display a strong size dependence with the flow strength increasing with decreasing specimen size. In sufficiently small single crystal specimens, the nucleation rate of the dislocations is approximately equal to the rate at which the dislocations exit the specimens so that below a critical specimen size the flow strength is set by the strength of the initially present Frank - Read sources. On the other hand, grain boundaries acting as barriers to plastic deformation in polycrystalline specimens of the same size lead to a more diffuse deformation pattern and to a nearly size-independent response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-422
Number of pages14
JournalModelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2006



Cite this