Particle size effect in metallic materials: A study by the theory of mechanism-based strain gradient plasticity

Z. Xue, Y. Huang*, M. Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

154 Scopus citations


It is a significant fact that the size of second-phase particles has an important effect on the macroscopic plastic work hardening behavior of metals and their alloys or metal-matrix composites. The classical plasticity theories cannot explain this size effect since their constitutive laws possess no internal material lengths. We use the theory of mechanism-based strain gradient (MSG) plasticity to investigate the particle size effect and find good agreements with the experiments of aluminum matrix reinforced by silicon carbide particles as well as with prior numerical studies by other strain gradient plasticity theories. It is shown that, at a fixed particle volume fraction, smaller particles give larger plastic work hardening of the composite than large particles do.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-160
Number of pages12
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 8 2002



  • Particle size effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys

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