A molecular dynamics study of void growth and coalescence in single crystal nickel

G. P. Potirniche, M. F. Horstemeyer*, G. J. Wagner, P. M. Gullett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


Molecular dynamics simulations using Modified Embedded Atom Method (MEAM) potentials were performed to analyze material length scale influences on damage progression of single crystal nickel. Damage evolution by void growth and coalescence was simulated at very high strain rates (10 8-10 10/s) involving four specimen sizes ranging from ≈5000 to 170,000 atoms with the same initial void volume fraction. 3D rectangular specimens with uniform thickness were provided with one and two embedded cylindrical voids and were subjected to remote uniaxial tension at a constant strain rate. Void volume fraction evolution and the corresponding stress-strain responses were monitored as the voids grew under the increasing applied tractions. The results showed that the specimen length scale changes the dislocation pattern, the evolving void aspect ratio, and the stress-strain response. At small strain levels (0-20%), a damage evolution size scale effect can be observed from the damage-strain and stress-strain curves, which is consistent with dislocation nucleation argument of Horstemeyer et al. [Horstemeyer, M.F., Baskes, M.I., Plimpton, S.J., 2001a. Length scale and time scale effects on the plastic flow of FCC metals. Acta Mater. 49, pp. 4363-4374] playing a dominant role. However, when the void volume fraction evolution is plotted versus the applied true strain at large plastic strains (>20%), minimal size scale differences were observed, even with very different dislocation patterns occurring in the specimen. At this larger strain level, the size scale differences cease to be relevant, because the effects of dislocation nucleation were overcome by dislocation interaction. This study provides fodder for bridging material length scales from the nanoscale to the larger scales by examining plasticity and damage quantities from a continuum perspective that were generated from atomistic results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-278
Number of pages22
JournalInternational journal of plasticity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Embedded atom method
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Nickel single crystal
  • Void coalescence
  • Void growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A molecular dynamics study of void growth and coalescence in single crystal nickel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this