Dislocation avalanche mechanism in slowly compressed high entropy alloy nanopillars

Yang Hu, Li Shu, Qun Yang, Wei Guo, Peter K. Liaw, Karin A. Dahmen, Jian Min Zuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Crystals deform by the intermittent multiplication and slip avalanches of dislocations. While dislocation multiplication is well-understood, how the avalanches form, however, is not clear, and the lack of insight in general has contributed to “a mass of details and controversy” about crystal plasticity. Here, we follow the development of dislocation avalanches in the compressed nanopillars of a high entropy alloy, Al0.1CoCrFeNi, using direct electron imaging and precise mechanical measurements. Results show that the avalanche starts with dislocation accumulations and the formation of dislocation bands. Dislocation pileups form in front of the dislocation bands, whose giveaway trigs the avalanche, like the opening of a floodgate. The size of dislocation avalanches ranges from few to 102 nm in the nanopillars, with the power-law distribution similar to earthquakes. Thus, our study identifies the dislocation interaction mechanism for large crystal slips, and provides critical insights into the deformation of high entropy alloys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number61
JournalCommunications Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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