Effect of Tip Roundness on the Nanoindentation of Fe Crystals

Abstract

Indentation tips are never atomically sharp, but rounded at their end. We use atomistic simulation to study the effect of tip roundness for the particular case of a cube-corner pyramidal indenter by comparing the results of a spherical, a sharp cube-corner, and a rounded cube-corner tip during indention into bcc Fe. We find that as soon as the tip has indented so deeply that the spherical geometry does not hold any longer, strong deviations between the dislocation plasticity behavior show up. The rounded cube-corner tip produces less dislocations and a smaller plastic zone than the spherical indenter, when indented to the same depth. The results are better comparable, however, when the same displaced volume is considered. Finally, the dislocation nucleation mode is affected by the geometry, changing from homogeneous to heterogeneous nucleation as the tip changes from rounded to sharp. The cube-corner tips are found to produce more twinning and delay the formation of prismatic loops. For a penetration depth beyond the radius of the rounded cube-corner tip, atomic sharp pyramidal tips produce similar quantitative (hardness, dislocation density) and qualitative (pileup, dislocation arrangement) results compared to its rounded counterpart. Our results will prove important for understanding the differences between spherical indenter tips, as they are often used in simulation, and pyramidal tips, as they are used in experiment.

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Acknowledgements

HMU acknowledges support by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)—Project Number 172116086—SFB 926. CJR and MCZ acknowledge support by ANPCyT PICT-2015-0342, SiiP-UNCuyo-2019-M088, a donation by the Nvidia Corporation, and computational resources at TOKO-FCEN-UNCuyo cluster. EMB thanks funding from SIIP-UNCuyo-2019-2021 grant. The work by MCZ was supported by an EVC scholarship from Consejo Interuniversitario Nacional - Argentina.

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Zonana, M.C., Ruestes, C.J., Bringa, E.M. et al. Effect of Tip Roundness on the Nanoindentation of Fe Crystals. Tribol Lett 68, 56 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11249-020-01295-9

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Keywords

  • Molecular dynamics
  • Nanoindentation
  • Dislocations
  • Plasticity