Prior to macroscopic yielding, most materials undergo a regime of plastic activity that cannot be resolved in conventional bulk deformation experiments. In this pre-yield, or micro-plastic regime, it is the initial three dimensional defect network that is probed and the intermittently evolving microstructure admits small increments in plastic strain. By reducing the sample size, this intermittent activity becomes increasingly apparent and can be routinely observed through small-scale mechanical testing. In some cases, the intermittent activity was shown to exhibit aspects of scale-free behavior, prompting a paradigm shift away from traditional microstructure-dependent unit mechanisms that may be associated with a well-defined length and stress scale. In this article, we discuss and review connections between classical micro-plasticity and intermittent flow across all length scales, with the aim of highlighting the value of miniaturized testing as a means to unravel this very early regime of bulk plasticity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Polymers and Plastics
- Metals and Alloys