Discrete stochastic model of point defect-dislocation interaction for simulating dislocation climb

Cameron McElfresh, Yinan Cui, Sergei L. Dudarev, Giacomo Po, Jaime Marian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Dislocation climb is an important high temperature process in metals plasticity, responsible for the phenomena such as creep, swelling, or hardening. Climb is defined by the ability of dislocations to leave their original glide plane by interacting with point defects. As such, dislocation climb is controlled by point defect diffusion/absorption/emission, all of which involve thermal activation. The existing thermodynamically consistent models for climb are generally formulated in a continuum framework, through the definition of effective defect fluxes and climb propensities in response to thermodynamic driving forces. However, the point-wise discrete nature of vacancies (and/or self-interstitials) confers a highly discrete nature to the climb dynamics, which is also strongly affected by elastic forces. The combination of discreteness, thermal activation, and elasticity makes this process too challenging for direct atomistic methods such as molecular dynamics. Here we develop a kinetic Monte Carlo model that captures vacancy generation and transport kinetics acting in conjuction with the evolving elastic fields provided by discrete dislocation dynamics simulations. The two models are coupled via the applied stresses and stress gradients generated by dislocation structures at vacancy locations. Our simulations reveal two surprising results. First that climb is dominated by vacancy emission even when the background vacancy concentration is much higher than the equilibrium one. And, second, that climb velocities might be much faster than otherwise believed when one uses the classical theories of climb. These effects are due to the locality of vacancy-dislocation processes, which are not captured in classical treatments that assume smooth vacancy fluxes and homogeneous concentrations. We apply the method to study elementary climb processes in body-centered cubic iron and furnish climb mobility functions to be used in parametric dislocation dynamics and/or crystal plasticity simulations. We apply the technique to study non-conservative plastic bypass of spherical precipitates by edge dislocations and point out the differences between our discrete approach and existing continuum formulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102848
JournalInternational Journal of Plasticity
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Dislocation climb
  • Dislocation dynamics
  • Drift-diffusion process
  • Monte Carlo simulations
  • Vacancy diffusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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