Effect of surface/interface stress on the plastic deformation of nanoporous materials and nanocomposites


Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


Surface and interface play an important role on the overall mechanical behaviors of nanostructured materials. We investigate the effect of surface/interface stress on the macroscopic plastic behaviors of nanoporous materials and nanocomposites, where both the surface/interface residual stress and surface/interface elasticity are taken into account. A new second-order moment nonlinear micromechanics theory is developed and then reduced to macroscopically isotropic materials. It is found that the effect of surface/interface residual stress is much more prominent than that of the surface/interface elasticity, causing strong size effect as well as asymmetric plastic deformation for tension and compression. The variation of yield strength is more prominent with smaller pore/inclusion size or higher pore/inclusion volume fraction. For a representative nanoporous aluminum, the surface effect becomes significant when the pore radius is smaller than about 50 nm. When hard inclusions are embedded in a ductile metal matrix, the interface effect and resulting size effect are much smaller than that of nanoporous materials. The results may be useful for evaluating the mechanical integrity of nanostructured materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957-975
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Plasticity
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

W.X.Z. and T.J.W. are supported by the State 973 Program of China (2007CB707702) and NSFC (10902081). W.X.Z. is also supported by China Scholarship Council. X.C. is supported by National Science Foundation CMMI-CAREER-0643726, by National Natural Science Foundation of China (50928601), and by a WCU (World Class University) program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Korea (R32-2008-000-20042-0). W.X.Z. thanks Jie Yin (Columbia University) for his assistance in proving the Hill’s lemma.


  • Nanocomposite
  • Nanoporous material
  • Plasticity
  • Size effect
  • Surface stress


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