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research-article

Thermal Fluctuations as a Computational Microscope for Studying Crystalline Interfaces: A Mechanistic Perspective

[+] Author and Article Information
Dengke Chen

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204, USA
dengke.chen@hotmail.com

Yashashree Kulkarni

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204, USA
ykulkarni@uh.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037885 History: Received September 05, 2017; Revised September 08, 2017

Abstract

Interfaces such as grain boundaries are ubiquitous in crystalline materials and have provided a fertile area of research over decades. Their importance stems from the numerous critical phenomena associated with them, such as grain boundary sliding, migration, and interaction with other defects, that govern the mechanical properties of materials. Although these crystalline interfaces exhibit small out-of-plane fluctuations, statistical thermodynamics of membranes has been effectively used to extract relevant physical quantities such as the interfacial free energy, grain boundary stiffness, and mobility. In this perspective, we advance the viewpoint that thermal fluctuations of crystalline interfaces can serve as a computational microscope for gaining insights into the thermodynamic and kinetic properties of grain boundaries and present a rich source of future study.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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