Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 53, Issue 8, pp 5786–5798 | Cite as

Differentiating between intergranular and transgranular fracture in polycrystalline aggregates

Interface Behavior


The competition between intergranular (IG) and transgranular (TG) fracture in fcc polycrystalline aggregates with physically representative GB misorientation distributions comprised of random low-angle, random high-angle, and coincident site lattice (CSL) GBs has been investigated. Physically-based critical conditions for IG fracture, due to the formation of dislocation pileups, and TG fracture, due to the propagation of cracks on cleavage planes, were coupled to a dislocation-density-based crystal plasticity formulation and a computational fracture scheme for crack branching to investigate how dislocation–GB interactions influence dislocation transmission, pileup formation, and local failure modes. The predictions indicate that aggregates with a large fraction of random and CSL high-angle GBs are dominated by IG fracture, as low GB transmission leads to extensive dislocation-density pileup formation and localized stress accumulations that induce IG fracture. Aggregates with a majority of low-angle GBs are dominated by TG failure, which is consistent with experimental observations. This investigation provides a fundamental understanding of the physical mechanisms governing IG and TG fracture in polycrystalline aggregates.



Funding was provided by Office of Naval Research (Grant No. N00014-10-1-0958) MURI Program.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest that exist for the manuscript’s authors that could potentially influence or bias the submitted work.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.North Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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