Molecular Dynamics Simulations on Strengthening Caused by GP-Zones in Al-Cu Alloys

Principal Investigator:
Martin Hummel

Institut für Materialprüfung, Werkstoffkunde und Festigkeitslehre (IMWF), Universität Stuttgart

Local Project ID:

HPC Platform used:
Hermit of HLRS

Date published:

Aluminum alloys are widely used construction materials. A long tradition in metallurgy provides a lot of knowledge concerning the material behavior while different alloying surcharges are added or manufacturing processes are passed through. The strengthening in Aluminum-Copper alloys is based on different mechanisms, which are namely solid solution hardening, precipitate- and grain-boundary-strengthening. To investigate these empirical well known effects on atomistic length scale Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations are indispensable.

The interaction between each atom is considered in these numerical calculations and since the configurations consist of up to 100 million particles the computational effort is very high. High performance facilities like the High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart are the only possibility to provide the necessary infrastructure. Suitable simulation software is the other basic necessity, which is given in this case by the software package IMD, which was specially developed at the University of Stuttgart for massive parallel computations on clusters.

Tensile tests are performed to observe the formation, evolution, movement and interactions of dislocations with each other, grain boundaries and other defects. A high required stress for the dislocation formation was observed, yet it is about a factor of five lower compared to a single crystal. This is explained by the dislocation emission from the grain boundaries, which are defects in the otherwise perfect crystal (Figure 1).

The critical resolved shear stress (CRSS) to overcome Guinier-Preston (GP) zones, monoatomic layers of copper within the aluminum matrix, was obtained by shear simulations (Figure 2). The GP 1 and GP 2 zones represent different ageing stages of the system and they result in higher required CRSS values to overcome the precipitates.

This work was part of the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 716 financially supported by the DFG and carried out at the IMWF (Institute for Materials Testing, Materials Science and Strength of Materials; University of Stuttgart).

Scientific Contact:

Martin Hummel
Universität Stuttgart, Institut für Materialprüfung, Werkstoffkunde und Festigkeitslehre (IMWF)
Pfaffenwaldring 32, D-70569 Stuttgart/Germany
e-mail: Martin.Hummel [at]

Tags: Universität Stuttgart HLRS Materials Science