Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Richard A. Lesar


As metallic structures and devices are being created on a dimension comparable to the length scales of the underlying dislocation microstructures, the mechanical properties of them change drastically. Since such small structures are increasingly common in modern technologies, there is an emergent need to understand the critical roles of elasticity, plasticity, and fracture in small structures. Dislocation dynamics (DD) simulations, in which the dislocations are the simulated entities, offer a way to extend length scales beyond those of atomistic simulations and the results from DD simulations can be directly compared with the micromechanical tests.

The primary objective of this research is to use 3-D DD simulations to study the plastic deformation of nano- and micro-scale materials and understand the correlation between dislocation motion, interactions and the mechanical response. Specifically, to identify what critical events (i.e., dislocation multiplication, cross-slip, storage, nucleation, junction and dipole formation, pinning etc.) determine the deformation response and how these change from bulk behavior as the system decreases in size and correlate and improve our current knowledge of bulk plasticity with the knowledge gained from the direct observations of small-scale plasticity. Our simulation results on single crystal micropillars and polycrystalline thin films can march the experiment results well and capture the essential features in small-scale plasticity. Furthermore, several simple and accurate models have been developed following our simulation results and can reasonably predict the plastic behavior of small scale materials.


Copyright Owner

Caizhi Zhou



Date Available


File Format


File Size

179 pages