Energetic design of grain boundary networks for toughening of nanocrystalline oxides

Arseniy Bokov, Shenli Zhang, Lin Feng, Shen J. Dillon, Roland Faller, Ricardo H.R. Castro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Improving the mechanical performance of nanocrystalline functional oxides can have major implications for stability and resilience of battery cathodes, development of reliable nuclear oxide fuels, strong and durable catalytic supports. By combining Monte Carlo simulations, experimental thermodynamics, and in-situ transmission electron microscopy, we demonstrate a novel toughening mechanism based on interplay between the thermo-chemistry of the grain boundaries and crack propagation. By using zirconia as a model material, lanthanum segregation to the grain boundaries was used to increase the toughness of individual boundaries and simultaneously promote a smoother energy landscape in which cracks experience multiple deflections through the grain boundary network, ultimately improving fracture toughness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4260-4267
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the European Ceramic Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Fracture toughness
  • Grain boundary
  • Nanocrystalline ceramics
  • Segregation
  • Zirconia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Energetic design of grain boundary networks for toughening of nanocrystalline oxides'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this