The effect of layer thickness ratio on the plastic deformation mechanisms of nanoindented Ti/TiN nanolayered composite

Wei Yang, Georges Ayoub, Iman Salehinia, Bilal Mansoor, Hussein Zbib

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Molecular dynamics simulations were performed to identify the underlying deformation mechanisms controlling the plastic behavior of nanoindented nanoscale multilayered Ti/TiN. MD simulations were conducted on pure Ti and pure TiN as well as on four different layer-thickness ratios of Ti/TiN multilayers, Ti:TiN = 1, 2.5, 4, and 7.5. The Ti layer thickness varied from 2 nm to 15 nm while the TiN layer thickness is kept constant of 2 nm. The plastic deformation of nanoindented pure Ti was dominated by the formation of dislocation loops resulting from basal partial dislocations, while very few perfect dislocations that tie dislocation loops together were observed. The plastic deformation of nanoindented pure TiN was controlled by the activation of perfect dislocation propagation along the (111) plane that dissociates into two partials. Depending on the thickness ratio, either dislocation pile-up or single dislocation crossing through the interface was the controlling plastic deformation mechanism of nanoindented Ti/TiN multilayers. For metal layer thicknesses above 5 nm, significant dislocation pile-ups were observed at the interface of the multi-layered samples. The Ti/TiN multilayer with a thickness ratio of 1:1 with individual layer thickness of 2 nm exhibited the highest strain-hardening rate. At this length scale, the activation of dislocation sources requires very high stresses, and the single dislocation crossing process is the most dominant deformation mechanism. The initiation of plasticity in the TiN layer occurs at a high level of stress since there is no dislocation pile-up at the interface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-498
Number of pages11
JournalComputational Materials Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018



  • Dislocations nucleation
  • Metals/ceramics multilayers
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Nanoindentation
  • Ti/TiN

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Computational Mathematics

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