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The rate sensitivity and plastic deformation of nanocrystalline tantalum films at nanoscale

Zhenhua Cao12, Qianwei She12, Yongli Huang3 and Xiangkang Meng12*

Author Affiliations

1 National Laboratory of Solid State Microstructures, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, People's Republic of China

2 Department of Material Science and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, People's Republic of China

3 Key Laboratory of Low Dimensional Materials and Application Technology of Ministry of Education, Faculty of Materials and Photoelectronics Physics, Xiangtan University, Xiangtan 411105, People's Republic of China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:186  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-186

Published: 1 March 2011


Nanoindentation creep and loading rate change tests were employed to examine the rate sensitivity (m) and hardness of nanocrystalline tetragonal Ta films. Experimental results suggested that the m increased with the decrease of feature scale, such as grain size and indent depth. The magnitude of m is much less than the corresponding grain boundary (GB) sliding deformation with m of 0.5. Hardness softening behavior was observed for smaller grain size, which supports the GB sliding mechanism. The rate-controlling deformation was interpreted by the GB-mediated processes involving atomic diffusion and the generation of dislocation at GB.