The role of slow screw dislocations in controlling fast strain avalanche dynamics in body-centered cubic metals

Yinan Cui, Giacomo Po, Pratyush Srivastava, Katherine Jiang, Vijay Gupta, Nasr Ghoniem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Plasticity in body centered cubic (BCC) crystals is shown to be controlled by slow screw dislocation motion, owing to the thermally-activated process of kink pair nucleation and migration. Through three dimensional discrete dislocation dynamics simulations, this work unravels the mystery of how such slow screw dislocation behavior contributes to extremely rapid strain bursts in submicron BCC tungsten (W) pillars, which is typical of BCC metals. It is found that strain bursts are dominated by the motion of non-screw dislocations at low strain rate, but are more influenced by screw dislocations at high strain rate. The total, and partial strain burst magnitude due to screw dislocations alone, are found to exhibit rate dependence following a power law statistics with exponent of 0.65. Similar power law statistics are also obeyed for the standard deviation of the corresponding plastic strain rate. The role of screw dislocations is attributed to the changing nature of dislocation source operation at different strain rates. The corresponding spatial distribution of plastic deformation is also discussed based on the uniqueness of the simulation method in reproducing the distribution of slipped area and plastic strain with very high spatial resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-132
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Plasticity
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • BCC crystal
  • Dislocation mechanism
  • Screw dislocation
  • Statistics
  • Strain burst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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