Stable microstructure in a nanocrystalline copper–tantalum alloy during shock loading

B. Chad Hornbuckle, Cyril L. Williams, Steven W. Dean, Xuyang Zhou, Chaitanya Kale, Scott A. Turnage, John D. Clayton, Gregory B. Thompson, Anit K. Giri, Kiran N. Solanki, Kristopher A. Darling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The microstructures of materials typically undergo significant changes during shock loading, causing failure when higher shock pressures are reached. However, preservation of microstructural and mechanical integrity during shock loading are essential in situations such as space travel, nuclear energy, protection systems, extreme geological events, and transportation. Here, we report ex situ shock behavior of a chemically optimized and microstructurally stable, bulk nanocrystalline copper–tantalum alloy that shows a relatively unchanged microstructure or properties when shock compressed up to 15 GPa. The absence of shock-hardening indicates that the grains and grain boundaries that make up the stabilized nanocrystalline microstructure act as stable sinks, thereby annihilating deformation-induced defects during shock loading. This study helps to advance the possibility of developing advanced structural materials for extreme applications where shock loading occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22
JournalCommunications Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials


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