Spall strength dependence on grain size and strain rate in tantalum

T. P. Remington, E. N. Hahn, S. Zhao, R. Flanagan, J. C.E. Mertens, S. Sabbaghianrad, T. G. Langdon, C. E. Wehrenberg, B. R. Maddox, D. C. Swift, B. A. Remington, Nikhilesh Chawla, M. A. Meyers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


We examine the effect of grain size on the dynamic failure of tantalum during laser-shock compression and release and identify a significant effect of grain size on spall strength, which is opposite to the prediction of the Hall-Petch relationship because spall is primarily intergranular in both poly and nanocrystalline samples; thus, monocrystals have a higher spall strength than polycrystals, which, in turn, are stronger in tension than ultra-fine grain sized specimens. Post-shock characterization reveals ductile failure which evolves by void nucleation, growth, and coalescence. Whereas in the monocrystal the voids grow in the interior, nucleation is both intra - and intergranular in the poly and ultra-fine-grained crystals. The fact that spall is primarily intergranular in both poly and nanocrystalline samples is a strong evidence for higher growth rates of intergranular voids, which have a distinctly oblate spheroid shape in contrast with intragranular voids, which are more spherical. The length of geometrically-necessary dislocations required to form a grain-boundary (intergranular) void is lower than that of grain-interior (intragranular) void with the same maximum diameter; thus, the energy required is lower. Consistent with prior literature and theory we also identify an increase with spall strength with strain rate from 6 × 106 to 5 × 107 s−1. Molecular dynamics calculations agree with the experimental results and also predict grain-boundary separation in the spalling of polycrystals as well as an increase in spall strength with strain rate. An analytical model based on the kinetics of nucleation and growth of intra- and intergranular voids and extending the Curran-Seaman-Shockey theory is applied which shows the competition between the two processes for polycrystals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-329
Number of pages17
JournalActa Materialia
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Grain size
  • Spall strength
  • Strain rate
  • Texture
  • Void growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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