Hardening in Au-Ag nanoboxes from stacking fault-dislocation interactions

RP Patil and D Doan and ZH Aitken and S Chen and MT Kiani and CM Barr and K Hattar and YW Zhang and XW Gu, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 11, 2923 (2020).

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16760-1

Porous, nano-architected metals with dimensions down to similar to 10nm are predicted to have extraordinarily high strength and stiffness per weight, but have been challenging to fabricate and test experimentally. Here, we use colloidal synthesis to make similar to 140nm length and similar to 15nm wall thickness hollow Au-Ag nanoboxes with smooth and rough surfaces. In situ scanning electron microscope and transmission electron microscope testing of the smooth and rough nanoboxes show them to yield at 13045MPa and 96 +/- 31MPa respectively, with significant strain hardening. A higher strain hardening rate is seen in rough nanoboxes than smooth nanoboxes. Finite element modeling is used to show that the structure of the nanoboxes is not responsible for the hardening behavior suggesting that material mechanisms are the source of observed hardening. Molecular dynamics simulations indicate that hardening is a result of interactions between dislocations and the associated increase in dislocation density.

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