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In Engineering materials or materials science, a dislocation is a crystallographic defect,

or irregularity, within a crystal structure. Dislocations are areas where the atoms are out
of position in the crystal structure. Dislocations are generated and move when a stress
is applied. The motion of dislocations allows slip-plastic deformation to occur.
Therefore, the presence of dislocations strongly influences many of the properties of
materials. Some types of dislocations can be visualized s being caused by the
termination of a plane of atoms in the middle of a crystal. In such a case, the
surrounding planes are not straight, but instead bend around the edge of the terminating
plane so that the crystal structure is perfectly ordered on either side. A crystalline
material consists of a regular array of atoms, arranged into lattice planes.
There are two main types of dislocations: - (i) Edge dislocation (ii) Screw dislocation.
Dislocations found in real materials are typically a hybrid of the edge and screw forms
that is they have characteristics of both. These are named mixed dislocation.
Edge Dislocation
Edge dislocation is a defect where an extra half-plane of atoms is introduced mid-way
through the crystal, distorting nearby planes of atoms. When enough force is applied
from one side of the crystal structure, this extra planes passes through planes of atoms
breaking and joining bonds with them until it reaches the gain boundary. This
dislocation has two properties, a line direction, which is the direction running along the
bottom of the extra half plane, and the Burgers vector which describes the magnitude
and direction of distortion to the lattice. In an edge dislocation, the Burgers vector is
perpendicular to the line direction.

Figure 1: Schematic diagram showing an edge dislocation

Screw Dislocation
Another type of dislocation, called a screw dislocation exists, which may be thought of
as being formed by shear stress that is applied to produce the distortion. The screw

dislocation derives its name from the spiral or helical path or ramp that is traced around
the dislocation line by the atomic planes of atoms. In a screw dislocation, the Burgers
vector is parallel to the dislocation line.

Figure 2: Schematic diagram showing a screw dislocation

Mixed Dislocation
Most dislocations found in crystalline materials are neither pure edge nor screw, but
exhibit components of both types, termed mixed dislocation. All three dislocation types
are represented schematically in the diagram below, the lattice distortion that is
produced away from the two faces is mixed, having varying degrees of screw and edge
character. The magnitude and direction of the lattice distortion associated with a
dislocation is expressed in terms of a Burgers vector, denoted by a b.

All in all, the nature of a dislocation is defined by the relative orientations of the
dislocation line and Burgers vector. For an edge, they are perpendicular, whereas for a
screw they are parallel; they are neither perpendicular nor parallel for a mixed
dislocation. Also even though a dislocation changes direction and nature within a
crystal, the burgers vector will be the same at all points along its line.

Part 2
Grain-Boundaries and Grain Size
Grain-boundary strengthening or also called the Hall-Petch strengthening is a method of
strengthening materials by changing their average crystallite (grain) size. It is based on
the observation that grain boundaries impede dislocation movement and that the
number of dislocations within a grain have an effect on how easily dislocations can
traverse grain boundaries and travel from grain to grain. So by changing grain size
one can influence dislocation movement and yield strength.
In grain-boundary strengthening, the grain boundaries act as pinning points impeding
further dislocation propagation. Since the lattice structure of adjacent grains differs in
orientation, it requires more energy for a dislocation to change directions and move into
the adjacent grain. The grain boundary is also much more disordered than inside the
grain, which also prevents the dislocations from moving in a continuous slip plane.
Impeding this dislocation movement will hinder the onset plasticity and hence increase
the yield strength of the material.
To conclude, grain size is a critically important aspect of polycrystalline. In the case of
Hall-Petch effect, in most materials, both the strength and the toughness increase as
the grain size is reduced. This effect can be explained by the resistance of the
boundaries to plastic flow (in the case of plastic flow) and the decrease of micro crack in
the case of fracture. Grain size can also play a major role in controlling creep
resistance. However, grain size has the opposite effect at high temperatures than at
ambient conditions. Larger grain size increases creep resistance, hence the use of
single crystals, where feasible, especially for super alloys.

3: Large grain size - 2 : Small grain size

Note: - As the grain size is reduced, the strength of the material (in this case, metal)


W.D. Callister.JR Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering, 5th ed.

Wiley & Sons. pp. 111-114


UJOODHA Yashveer


BEng(Hons) Civil Engineering P/T
Year 1