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Title: Structural evolution in the dynamic plasticity of FCC metals
Author: Lea, Lewis John
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 4342
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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Above true strain rates of $10^4$ s$^{-1}$ FCC metals exhibit a rapid increase in strength. Understanding of the physical mechanisms behind this strength transition is hindered by the number and interdependence of candidate mechanisms. Broadly, contributions to strength can be split into `instantaneous' effects and the more permanent `structural' ones. In this thesis a series of experiments are presented which are designed to separate the two types of contribution. Chapter 2 outlines the basics of dislocation plasticity, based on the seminal works of Taylor and Orowan. It then progresses on to discuss recent experimental and theoretical work on the understanding of slip as avalanche behaviour. Chapter 3 summarises traditional modelling approaches for instantaneous strength contributions which are routinely applied below $10^4$ s$^{-1}$. It then continues on to outline a number of different approaches which have been adopted to attempt to explain and model the strength transition. Chapter 4 outlines the methods used in the earliest stages of the study: Instron and split Hopkinson pressure bar methods. Both methods are well established, and cover the majority of the range of rates under study. Emphasis is made on minimising experimental sources of error, and subsequently accounting for those which are unavoidable. Finally, the specimen material is introduced and is shown to be fit for purpose. Chapter 5 presents a set of mechanical tests of specimens at strain rates between $10^4-10^5$~s$^{-1}$. The softening of the specimens with increased temperature is observed to increase with strain rate, both in absolute terms and when normalised to the 300 K measurement for each strain rate. The observations are most easily explained if the strength transition is due to an increase in early stage work hardening, however, some anomalous behaviours remain. Chapter 6 introduces a new experimental technique; direct impact Hopkinson pressure bars, required to perform experiments shown to be necessary by the results of Chapter 5. Photon Doppler velocimetry is applied to the projectiles used in experiments, removing one of the most significant flaws of the technique, and creating a more confident basis with which to perform further experimental work. Chapter 7 presents a series of `jump tests' at ambient temperatures. Specimens are deformed at strain rates ranging from $10^{-2}$ to $10^5$~s$^{-1}$ to a fixed strain of 0.1, then reloaded to yield at a strain rate of $10^{-1}$. The yield point at reload is shown to have the same rapid upturn as seen when the specimens were deforming at high rates, providing strong evidence that the increase in strength is due to changes in the underlying dislocation structure, rather than a dynamic effect, as it remains even when the high strain rate is removed. Chapter 8 continues on from the conclusions of Chapter 7. Jump tests are expanded to a variety of temperatures and strains, to provide a more complete characterisation of metal behaviour. No dramatic change in the saturation of work hardening is observed to coincide with the increase in early stage work hardening. Chapter 9 discusses discrepancies between contemporary high rate models and recent developments in the understanding of plasticity being an avalanche process. Potential consequences of incorporating avalanche plasticity into high rate models are explored. Particular attention is paid to Brown's observation that based on quasi static observations of avalanche behaviour, the formation of dislocation avalanches will begin to fail at strain rates of approximately $10^4$ s$^{-1}$. Consequences of the progressive breakdown of avalanche behaviour are discussed with respect to the experimental observations presented in earlier chapters. In Chapter 10, we will discuss the key conclusions of the work. Finally, a number of avenues are proposed for building upon the current work both theoretically and experimentally.
Supervisor: Jardine, Andrew Peter Sponsor: EPSRC ; QinetiQ plc
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: FCC ; Metals ; Work Hardening ; High Strain Rate ; SHPB ; DIHB ; Hopkinson Pressure Bar ; Kolsky Bar ; Self Organised Criticality ; Dislocation ; Plasticity ; Copper