Activation volume and deviation from Cottrell-Stokes law at small grain size

Cécilie Duhamel, Yves Brechet, Yannick Champion

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59 Citations (Scopus)


Dependence of activation volume with flow stress is examined for metals with grain size lower than 0.3 μm and larger than few tens of nanometers, where plastic deformation is most likely to be governed by a combination of grain boundary sliding and dislocations activity. The experimentally observed deviation from the classic linear behavior given by Cottrell-Stokes law [Basinski, Z.S., 1974. Forest hardening in face centered cubic metals. Scripta Metallurgica 8, 1301-1308] is analyzed, thanks to a modified Orowan equation taking into account of the grain boundaries sliding coupled to dislocations activity. These results are compared to experimental measurements of the activation volume, between room temperature and 120 °C, for a copper nanostructure with a grain size of 100 nm. A constant activation volume is observed at low stress (or high temperature) followed by an increase of activation volume with stress (inverse Cottrell-Stokes behavior). This analysis follows our initial experiments on this fine grained metal prepared by powder metallurgy, which exhibits ductility at near constant stress and strain rate [Champion, Y., Langlois, C., Guérin-Mailly, S., Langlois, P., Bonnentien, J.-L., Hÿtch, M.J., 2003. Near-perfect elastoplasticity in pure nanocrystalline copper. Science 300, 310-311].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-757
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Plasticity
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Activation volume
  • Cottrell-Stokes law
  • Dislocations
  • Fine grained metal
  • Grain boundary sliding

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