Shock loading produces a compressive stress pulse with steep gradients in density, temperature, and pressure that are also often modeled as discontinuities. When a material is subject to these dynamic (shock) loading conditions, fracture and deformation patterns due to spall damage can arise. Spallation is a dynamic material failure that is caused by the nucleation, growth, and coalescence of voids, with possible ejection of the surface of the material. Intrinsic defects, such as grain boundaries are the preferred initiation sites of spall damage in high purity materials. The focus of this research is to study the phenomena that cause void nucleation and growth at a particular grain boundary (GB), chosen to maximize spall damage localization.
Bicrystal samples were shock loaded using flyer-plates via light gas gun and direct laser ablation. Stress, pulse duration, and crystal orientation along the shock direction were varied for a fixed boundary misorientation to determine thresholds for void nucleation and coalescence as functions of these parameters. Pressures for gas gun experiments ranged from 2 to 5 GPa, while pressures for laser ablation experiments varied from 17 to 25 GPa. Samples were soft recovered to perform damage characterization using electron backscattering diffraction (EBSD) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Results showed a 14% difference in the thresholds for void nucleation and coalescence between samples with different orientations along the shock direction, which were affected by pulse duration and stress level. Fractography on boundaries with strong damage localization showed many small voids, indicating they experience rapid nucleation, causing early coalescence. Composition analysis was also performed to determine the effect of impurities on damage evolution. Results showed that higher levels of impurities led to more damage. ABAQUS/Explicit models were developed to simulate flyer-plate impact and void growth with the same crystal orientations and experimental conditions. Results are able to match the damage seen in each grain of the target experimentally. The Taylor Factor mismatch at the boundary can also be observed in the model with the higher Taylor Factor grain exhibiting more damage.