2023 journal article
Effect of a Long-Range Dislocation Pileup on the Atomic-Scale Hydrogen Diffusion near a Grain Boundary in Plastically Deformed bcc Iron
In this paper, we present concurrent atomistic-continuum (CAC) simulations of the hydrogen (H) diffusion along a grain boundary (GB), nearby which a large population of dislocations are piled up, in a plastically deformed bi-crystalline bcc iron sample. With the microscale dislocation slip and the atomic structure evolution at the GB being simultaneously retained, our main findings are: (i) the accumulation of tens of dislocations near the H-charged GB can induce a local internal stress as high as 3 GPa; (ii) the more dislocations piled up at the GB, the slower the H diffusion ahead of the slip–GB intersection; and (iii) H atoms diffuse fast behind the pileup tip, get trapped within the GB, and diffuse slowly ahead of the pileup tip. The CAC simulation-predicted local H diffusivity, Dpileup−tip, and local stresses, σ, are correlated with each other. We then consolidate such correlations into a mechanics model by considering the dislocation pileup as an Eshelby inclusion. These findings will provide researchers with opportunities to: (a) characterize the interplay between plasticity, H diffusion, and crack initiation underlying H-induced cracking (HIC); (b) develop mechanism-based constitutive rules to be used in diffusion–plasticity coupling models for understanding the interplay between mechanical and mass transport in materials at the continuum level; and (c) connect the atomistic deformation physics of polycrystalline materials with their performance in aqueous environments, which is currently difficult to achieve in experiments.