Y. F. Shao, X. Yang, X. Zhao and S. Q. Wang
Chinese Physics B, 21, 093104 (2012).
The effects of stacking fault energy, unstable stacking fault energy, and unstable twinning fault energy on the fracture behavior of nanocrystalline Ni are studied via quasicontinuum simulations. Two semi-empirical potentials for Ni are used to vary the values of these generalized planar fault energies. When the above three energies are reduced, a brittle-to-ductile transition of the fracture behavior is observed. In the model with higher generalized planar fault energies, a nanocrack proceeds along a grain boundary, while in the model with lower energies, the tip of the nanocrack becomes blunt. A greater twinning tendency is also observed in the more ductile model. These results indicate that the fracture toughness of nanocrystalline face-centered-cubic metals and alloys might be efficiently improved by controlling the generalized planar fault energies.