Submicrometer-grained (SMG) structures were produced in Cu and Ni using an intense plastic straining technique, and the grain boundaries and their vicinities were observed by high-resolution electron microscopy. The grain boundaries exhibited zigzag configurations with irregular arrangements of facets and steps, and thus they were found to be in a high-energy nonequilibrium state. A similar conclusion was reached earlier for SMG Al–Mg solid solution alloys which have much lower melting points than Cu and Ni, suggesting that nonequilibrium grain boundaries are a typical feature of metals processed by intense plastic straining.
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Horita, Z., Smith, D.J., Nemoto, M. et al. Observations of grain boundary structure in submicrometer-grained Cu and Ni using high-resolution electron microscopy. Journal of Materials Research 13, 446–450 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1557/JMR.1998.0057