Nanoindentation hardness measurements were performed on nanocrystalline (nc-) Cu alloys to test recent molecular dynamics predictions that (i) solute segregation to grain boundaries can lead to significant strengthening and (ii) solutes with large size mismatch with Cu are most effective. Results show that the hardness of nc-Cu 90Nb 10 is greater than 5 GPa, more than double that of pure nc-Cu, whereas similar additions of Fe solute have nearly no effect. These results are in good agreement with simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)720-723
Number of pages4
JournalScripta Materialia
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Grain boundary energy
  • Grain boundary strengthening
  • Nanocrystalline metal
  • Nanohardness
  • Nanoindentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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