Uncertainty propagation in a multiscale model of nanocrystalline plasticity

Marisol Koslowski, Purdue University - Main Campus
Alejandro Strachan, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University

Date of this Version



Reliability Engineering & System Safety Volume 96, Issue 9, September 2011, Pages 1161–1170


We characterize how uncertainties propagate across spatial and temporal scales in a physics-based model of nanocrystalline plasticity of fcc metals. Our model combines molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to characterize atomic-level processes that govern dislocation-based-plastic deformation with a phase field approach to dislocation dynamics (PFDD) that describes how an ensemble of dislocations evolve and interact to determine the mechanical response of the material. We apply this approach to a nanocrystalline Ni specimen of interest in micro-electromechanical (MEMS) switches. Our approach enables us to quantify how internal stresses that result from the fabrication process affect the properties of dislocations (using MD) and how these properties, in turn, affect the yield stress of the metallic membrane (using the PFMM model). Our predictions show that, for a nanocrystalline sample with small grain size (4 nm), a variation in residual stress of 20 MPa (typical in today's microfabrication techniques) would result in a variation on the critical resolved shear yield stress of approximately 15 MPa, a very small fraction of the nominal value of approximately 9 GPa. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology