Singular orientations and faceted motion of dislocations in body-centered cubic crystals

Keonwook Kang, Vasily V. Bulatov, Wei Cai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Dislocation mobility is a fundamental material property that controls strength and ductility of crystals. An important measure of dislocation mobility is its Peierls stress, i.e., the minimal stress required to move a dislocation at zero temperature. Here we report that, in the body-centered cubic metal tantalum, the Peierls stress as a function of dislocation orientation exhibits fine structure with several singular orientations of high Peierls stress - stress spikes - surrounded by vicinal plateau regions. While the classical Peierls-Nabarro model captures the high Peierls stress of singular orientations, an extension that allows dislocations to bend is necessary to account for the plateau regions. Our results clarify the notion of dislocation kinks as meaningful only for orientations within the plateau regions vicinal to the Peierls stress spikes. These observations lead us to propose a Read-Shockley type classification of dislocation orientations into three distinct classes - special, vicinal, and general - with respect to their Peierls stress and motion mechanisms. We predict that dislocation loops expanding under stress at sufficiently low temperatures, should develop well defined facets corresponding to two special orientations of highest Peierls stress, the screw and the M111 orientations, both moving by kink mechanism. We propose that both the screw and the M111 dislocations are jointly responsible for the yield behavior of BCC metals at low temperatures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15174-15178
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sept 18

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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