New materials, optimized for increased strength, ductility, and other desirable properties, have the potential to improve every aspect of modern living. To achieve these optimums, the necessary technological advancements are impeded mainly by the limits of available material models. Innovations in this field rely on research into the nature of material behavior. While a typical model of material behavior in the region near yield involves the initial linear elastic response, followed by yield and isotropic hardening, this fails to explain various important phenomena that manifest in a range of materials, such as pre-yield nonlinearity, anelasticity, yield point phenomena, hardening stagnation, and the Bauschinger effect. These effects have been explained over the past century with the theories of Cottrell atmospheres, the Orowan by-pass mechanism, and back stress. This manuscript compares data from experimental observation in tantalum to these theories to better understand the micromechanisms occurring near yield. Understanding deformation in this region has significant implications in structural and mechanical engineering, as well has having direct applications in the forming of metals. Forty-four dogbone-shaped samples were cut from 99.99% pure tantalum and pulled in load-unload-load and multi-cycle loop tensile tests at room temperature. The specimens were either single crystal, whose orientations were chosen based on desired active slip mode determined by Schmid factors, or bicrystal, based on the orientation of the single grain boundary. Sample behavior was simulated in both crystal plasticity and General Mesoscale finite element models to assist in interpreting results and in suggesting plausible micromechanisms. The experimental results and crystal plasticity simulations suggest alternate explanations to some of the discussed mechanical theories of near-yield deformation. The combined experimental / modeling approach indicates that other slip systems, besides the conventionally assumed {110}, are activated upon yield; particularly the {112} system. The breakaway model traditionally associated with the yield point phenomenon may also be better explained through a different mechanism; back stress development during deformation is shown to result in the observed behavior. Lastly, as is well-known, the Taylor formulation, upon which most crystal plasticity models are based, does not adequately predict yield stress behavior in the presence of grain boundaries; once again, an internal stress mechanism matches much better with the experimental results on single and bicrystals. While not all observations could be fully explained by simply adding internal stress generation to a standard crystal plasticity model, this work anticipates further studies to enable more accurate predictive modeling capabilities and increase understanding of the mechanisms driving the fundamental material properties necessary for future progress.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





elasticity, plasticity, slip, tantalum, bcc, anelasticity, metals, yield



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Engineering Commons