The introduction of twin boundaries (TBs) within nanocrystalline grains has given scientists an opportunity to enhance mechanical properties that are usually mutually exclusive: strength and ductility. This research is focused on developing a complete understanding of the influences of twin width, grain size and temperature on the deformation characteristics and properties of nanotwinned Cu by large-scale molecular dynamics simulations. Simulation results have shown that a material's toughness can be enhanced by introducing nanotwins, and the enhancement is more pronounced for the higher twin density structures and at lower temperatures. Nanotwinned grains are found to be highly anisotropic in their plastic response; ductile along TBs but strong across them. A random polycrystalline sample gains toughness through the combined response of variously oriented grains. At extremely low temperature, toughness values are elevated further due to depressed dislocation activities inside the grains. The study has also revealed that, unlike twin width refinement, grain size refinement may not always yield superior properties, and may deteriorate material toughness.

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Journal Modelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering
Shabib, I., & Miller, R. E. (2009). A molecular dynamics study of twin width, grain size and temperature effects on the toughness of 2D-columnar nanotwinned copper. Modelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering, 17(5). doi:10.1088/0965-0393/17/5/055009