Continuum modeling of plastic flow localization in irradiated fcc metals

Giacomo Po, Nasr Ghoniem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Under mechanical loading, neutron or ion irradiated metals may develop a mechanical instability characterized by the localization of plastic flow in narrow channels that are cleared of irradiation-induced defects. The resulting highly heterogeneous deformation can play a significant role in crack nucleation, fracture propagation, and premature failure of structural components used in nuclear applications. In this work, we develop a two-dimensional continuum model of plastic flow localization based on the continuum theory of dislocations. This framework allows a mechanism-based description of deformation in which plastic distortion is directly calculated from the evolution of dislocation density tensor fields on each slip system. The dislocation densities mutually interact through the self-consistent stress field derived from the deformation gradient and through back and flow stress corrections. The interaction between dislocation fields and irradiation-induced defects (mainly stacking fault tetrahedra (SFTs) in fcc metals) is twofold. First, the flow stress depends locally on the SFT density. Second, and based on existing molecular dynamics (MD) simulation results, dislocation fluxes are included as sink terms in the evolution equation of the SFT density. The model is implemented numerically using the finite element method (FEM) and simulation results for simple shear loading are presented. It is demonstrated here that small spatial fluctuations in the density of SFTs, coupled with their destruction by dislocation interaction, leads to plastic flow localization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S607-S611
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Issue number1-3 SUPPL.1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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