In situ studies of deformation and fracture in nanophase materials

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Nanocrystalline gold (8-25 nm grain size) and gold/silicon nanocomposites were prepared by sputtering and then strained to fracture in a transmission electron microscope. In situ and post mortem analyses revealed that the nanophase gold films were ductile, and significant plasticity was associated with fracture. Observations of pore formation, as well as a strain-rate effect on deformation behavior and direct lattice imaging of deformation, all indicated that the deformation occurred by diffusion-based mechanisms. Fracture was intergranular, but not brittle. Gold/silicon nanocomposites containing large volume fractions of brittle, amorphous Si and nanocrystalline gold precipitates exhibited behavior indicating significant toughness. © 1993.

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Nanostructured Materials