In this data driven world, there is no shortage of databases in the internet that try to give a holistic picture of everything (take Wikipedia, for instance). But, if you have read my home page, you’ll know that this blog is by no means an attempt to replace any such collection. The aim here is only to solidify the concepts in both my head and hopefully, by doing so, I’ve helped you do it too.

There are multiple ways to get to posts :

Concept Roll : Where all posts are lined latest to oldest.

Concept Trees : Where posts are clustered based on the principles involved.

Search : This is just a good old “Search” where you can quickly find out if what you’re looking for is here.

Categories : This is also a way of clustering, but the only difference is that you don’t immediately see what else is inside.

Tags : Sometimes, some basic principles may be involved in concepts from many different catergories. Tags solve this problem.

Do write back/comment if you agree with something or if you feel something should change. I’m listening to what you’ve got to say!

Have a good time here, and may the force be with you.

To start off on an exploration of dislocations, it’s important that we first understand why is it that we need to know about dislocations.

It all started with a rather simple question : What is the minimum shear force that’s required to start plastic deformation^{1} of a single crystal^{2}?

Ideal Shear Strength

When a material is subjected to a shearing force, it can deform like in Figure 1. It’s important to quantify the ability of the material to withstand shearing force and this quantity is the shear strength of the material. The shear strength is defined as the The applied shear stress needed to plastically deform a single crystal. There were attempts made by scientists to estimate the shear strength of materials theoretically. This value (obtained theoretically) is the ideal shear strength.

Obtaining this theoretical value is simple enough. Suppose there is an atom isolated in space. When another atom is brought into its vicinity, the new atom is initially attracted by the first atom (gravitation), however, when the new atom comes very close the first atom, it gets repelled (electrostatic interactions between both the atoms) and there is a spot in between where the atoms are ’at equilibrium’ (the same thing also known as a ’chemical bond’). If there are a lot of atoms lined up as a bunch of rows (assume, for now, infinitely), they arrange themselves such that they are all at equilibrium. If one of these lines of atoms are perturbed, they are initially repelled, but soon, they sit in the next available equilibrium spot (previously occupied by their neighbour). If we look at the energy of the atoms, it’ll first increase and then decrease. This can be approximated to a sinusoidal function like in Figure 2.

We can now model the ideal shear strength using this input. The notation for the problem is defined in Figure 3. The assumption made is that: All the bonds break simultaneously. This can be visualised like in Figure 3. Thus, the energy (and therefore stress) of an atom can be represented by . For small values of $sin(\theta)$, $sin(\theta) \approx \theta$. Therefore, . We know from Hooke’s Law that for small strains, the stress is directly proportional to the strain and the constant of proportionality is the Shear Modulus () (if the stress and strain are shear stress and shear strain respectively). The strain is . Thus, stress is given as . Equating both stresses, we get , if . This is, by definition, the ideal shear strength because the material “deforms” beyond the maximum of the stress sinusoidal curve.

Though the derivation doesn’t have flaws, the resultant shear strength differs by orders of magnitude compared to the observed experimental shear stress. This difference says that the assumption that all bonds break at once is incorrect. Thus the search was on to find a better explanation for plastic deformation.

A Novel Plan – Introducing Missing Half-planes

In 1934, three scientists – Orowan, Polanyi and Taylor, independently came up with a new solution. They envisioned missing half-planes of atoms. Imagine that in the line up of rows of atoms, there is a missing half plane of atoms or an additional half plane of atoms. This is depicted in Figure 5. The assumption that all the bonds must break simultaneously is not necessary once half planes are introduced.

In fact, these half-planes can ‘move’ and the end result is the same deformation of the material, as can be seen in Figure 6. The reason for the ideal shear strength to be much larger than experimental values was the assumption that all the bonds break at once, and breaking bonds is not easily achieved. By introducing half planes, with only one bond breaking while another being formed immediately, the values of shear strengths calculated began to match the experimental values. These half-planes were therefore a very successful explanation for the problem.

Connection with Dislocations

The missing (or extra) half-planes have an edge (a line of atoms that don’t have neighbouring atoms below (or above) them). This edge came to be known as the Edge Dislocation^{3}. Soon, all the mathematics of dislocations was established. The mathematics was so convincing that despite the fact that no one had ever ‘seen’ a dislocation before (microscopy techniques needed more development), the scientist community was next to certain on the existence of dislocations. When dislocations were finally ‘seen’ in the 1950’s, it only provided the final formality of a confirmation. From then on, there have been more additions to the theory and now, to learn about dislocations in detail, you might have to read thick books running for more than 1000 pages!

So, we care.

And hence, there’ll be more on dislocations to follow.

^{1}Plastic deformation is the permanent deformation beyond the elastic limit of a material. ^{2}More on single crystals later. ^{3}There’s another kind of dislocations called Screw Dislocations. Dislocations which exhibit traits of both are called Mixed Dislocations. More on these types and the definition of dislocations later.

Before you run away thinking this is yet another blog that gets a domain, a page to declare the plan (see : May 2017 Plan), but never kicks off, let me tell you why it’s been dormant for a while, again, and what I plan to do to start the volcanic activity.

I started this blog to make sure that what learn, I learn right. I must say this thought has in a way transformed me and I want to sustain it. I understand this needs to start somewhere, hence, inspite of the initial plan not kicking off, I decided I might as well start off from where I left.

Briefly, my action plan stays as follows :

Get the first post up and measure how long it takes to produce a good post.

Get three more posts up and keep measuring to get an average time estimate.

Based on estimate and free hours per day, make a detailed list of post topics to cover.

Work to achieve at least 85% of the target by the month end.

Which topics? I’ll try to stick to what I’ve mentioned in the Seeds page.

So that’s that, hope things start shaping up. May the force be with you.

Before you run away thinking this is yet another blog that gets a domain but never kicks off, let me tell you why it’s been dormant for a while, and what I plan to do to start the volcanic activity.

I started this blog to make sure that what learn, I learn right. Just the thought of writing about it led me to think deeper about whatever I was learning (I even got a perfect score in one of the exams as soon as I implemented this idea). But however, like many other things, only when someone actually takes the plunge, they’ll know whether they’ve really learnt swimming, it’s difficult to gauge watching from the shoreline. I understand this, hence, now that my official commitments are not going to be contiguous, I decided I might as well start off from where I left.

Briefly, my action plan is as follows :

Get the first post up and measure how long it takes to produce a good post.

Get three more posts up and keep measuring to get an average time estimate.

Based on estimate and free hours per day, make a detailed list of post topics to cover.

Work to achieve at least 85% of the target by the month end.

Which topics? I’ll try to stick to what I’ve mentioned in the Seeds page.

So that’s that, hope things start shaping up. May the force be with you.