A multiscale investigation into the effect of grain size on void evolution and ductile fracture: Experiments and crystal plasticity modeling

Xiaoqing Shang, Haiming Zhang, Zhenshan Cui, M. W. Fu, Jianbo Shao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of grain size on micro-void evolution and further macroscopic fracture in an austenite steel 316LN was studied through a series of experiments together with the full-field crystal plasticity finite element method (CPFEM) simulations. To probe the grain size effect on void behaviors, macroscopic tensile tests and microscopic fractography characterizations were conducted for samples with different grain sizes. A hierarchy modeling approach based on CPFEM was adopted to quantify the gran size effect accordingly. Authentic boundary conditions were enforced on the high-resolved representative volume elements (RVEs) with realistic grain structures and voids. The simulation results demonstrate that the deformation heterogeneity and the scatter of void growth increase with grain size. Via the quantitative analysis of the void dimension, an extended void growth model involving the effect of grain size was proposed on the basis of the Rice and Tracey model. The extended model adopts the Gaussian distribution to describe the non-uniform void growth induced by the grain-scale deformation heterogeneity and manifests the increase of void size deviation with grain size. The variation of void growth with grain size further leads to a transition of fracture modes. For the fine grain sample, coalescence of densely distributed voids dominates the fracture initiation, and the total void volume fraction thus plays a key role; For the coarse grain sample, however, the growth and coalescence of individual large void are critical for fracture occurrence. With the grain size affected void behavior, the ductility of the material is also shown to be grain size dependent. This study thus advances the comprehensive understanding of the micro-mechanics of ductile fracture and the relationship between microstructure and the macroscopic fracture behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-149
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Plasticity
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Crystal plasticity
  • Damage and fracture
  • Deformation heterogeneity
  • Grain size
  • Void growth and coalescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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