Researchers solve 100-year-old metallurgy puzzle

LLNL team solves 100-year-old metallurgy puzzle
To understand exactly how metals respond to high-rate compression in molecular dynamics simulations, LLNL scientists use novel methods of in silico microscopy to reveal defects in the crystal lattice (green and red line objects and gray surface objects at the top) while removing all the atoms (yellow balls at the bottom) for clarity. Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

To solve a 100-year puzzle in metallurgy about why single crystals show staged hardening while others don’t, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists took it down to the atomistic level.

The research appears in the Oct. 5 edition of Nature Materials.

For millennia, humans have exploited the natural property of metals to become stronger or harden when mechanically deformed. Ultimately rooted in the motion of dislocations, mechanisms of metal hardening have remained in the crosshairs of physical metallurgists for more than a century.

The team headed by LLNL materials scientist Vasily

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