Elucidating the Onset of Plasticity in Sliding Contacts Using Differential Computational Orientation Tomography

SJ Eder and PG Grutzmacher and MR Ripoll and JF Belak, TRIBOLOGY LETTERS, 69, 79 (2021).

DOI: 10.1007/s11249-021-01451-9

Depending on the mechanical and thermal energy introduced to a dry sliding interface, the near-surface regions of the mated bodies may undergo plastic deformation. In this work, we use large-scale molecular dynamics simulations to generate "differential computational orientation tomographs" (dCOT) and thus highlight changes to the microstructure near tribological FCC alloy surfaces, allowing us to detect subtle differences in lattice orientation and small distances in grain boundary migration. The analysis approach compares computationally generated orientation tomographs with their undeformed counterparts via a simple image analysis filter. We use our visualization method to discuss the acting microstructural mechanisms in a load-and time-resolved fashion, focusing on sliding conditions that lead to twinning, partial lattice rotation, and grain boundary-dominated processes. Extracting and laterally averaging the color saturation value of the generated tomographs allows us to produce quantitative time- and depth-resolved maps that give a good overview of the progress and severity of near- surface deformation. Corresponding maps of the lateral standard deviation in the color saturation show evidence of homogenization processes occurring in the tribologically loaded microstructure, frequently leading to the formation of a well-defined separation between deformed and undeformed regions. When integrated into a computational materials engineering framework, our approach could help optimize material design for tribological and other deformation problems. GRAPHICS .

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