Technical Brief

Mechanics of Nanocrystalline Particles With the Distinct Element Method

[+] Author and Article Information
Igor Ostanin

Department of Civil Engineering,
University of Minnesota,
500 Pillsbury Dr. S.E.,
Minneapolis, MN 55455
e-mail: ostan002@umn.edu

Yuezhou Wang

Department of Chemical Engineering
and Materials Science,
University of Minnesota,
421 Washington Avenue S.E.,
Minneapolis, MN 55455
e-mail: wang3282@umn.edu

Yuxiang Ni

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Minnesota,
111 Church Street,
Minneapolis, MN 55455
e-mail: yni@umn.edu

Traian Dumitricǎ

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Minnesota,
111 Church Street,
Minneapolis, MN 55455
e-mail: dtraian@umn.edu

1Current address: Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Novaya Street 100, Skolkovo 143025, Moscow Region, Russia.

2Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Materials Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received August 18, 2014; final manuscript received November 24, 2014; published online December 15, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Peter W. Chung.

J. Eng. Mater. Technol 137(2), 024501 (Apr 01, 2015) (5 pages) Paper No: MATS-14-1168; doi: 10.1115/1.4029249 History: Received August 18, 2014; Revised November 24, 2014; Online December 15, 2014

In geomechanics and civil engineering, the distinct element method (DEM) is employed in a top-down manner to simulate problems involving mechanics of granular media. Because this particle-based method is well adapted to discontinuities, we propose here to adapt DEM at the mesoscale in order to simulate the mechanics of nanocrystalline structures. The modeling concept is based on the representation of crystalline nanograins as mesoscopic distinct elements. The elasticity, plasticity, and fracture processes occurring at the interfaces are captured with contact models of interaction between elements. Simulations that rely on the fitting of the peak stress, strain, and failure mode on the experimental testing of Au and CdS hollow nanocrystalline particles illustrate the promising potential of mesoscopic DEM for bridging the atomistic-scale simulations with experimental testing data.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

(a) Schematic representation of indentation test setup. (b) Force–displacement curves of elastic, plastic, and brittle bond contact models for a simple normal tension test. (c) Elastic response of a spherical nanoparticle averaged over 10 realizations, as compared to an analytical (Hertzian) solution.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Brittle failure of a hollow CdS nanoparticle in indentation tests. Three DEM simulations were carried out: h = 40 nm (test 1), h = 60 nm (test 2), and h = 40 nm (test 3). (a) Geometry of the particle. Color map gives magnitude of displacement. (b) Force–displacement curves.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

(a) DEM stress–strain curves and (b) slip vector diagrams obtained in indentation tests of Au nanoparticle for different values of yield strength σy



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