Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Materials Science and Engineering


Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Peter C. Collins


Nanocrystalline metallic materials have the potential to exhibit outstanding performance which leads to their usage in challenging applications such as coatings and biomedical implant devices. To optimize the performance of nanocrystalline metallic materials according to the desired applications, it is important to have a decent understanding of the structure, processing and properties of these materials.

Various efforts have been made to correlate microstructure and properties of nanocrystalline metallic materials. Based on these research activities, it is noticed that microstructure and defects (e.g., dislocations and grain boundaries) play a key role in the behavior of these materials. Therefore, it is of great importance to establish methods to quantitatively study microstructures, defects and their interactions in nanocrystalline metallic materials.

Since the mechanisms controlling the properties of nanocrystalline metallic materials occur at a very small length scale, it is fairly difficult to study them. Unfortunately, most of the characterization techniques used to explore these materials do not have the high enough spatial resolution required for the characterization of these materials. For instance, by applying complex profile-fitting algorithms to X-ray diffraction patterns, it is possible to get an estimation of the average grain size and the average dislocation density within a relatively large area. However, these average values are not enough for developing meticulous phenomenological models which are able to correlate microstructure and properties of nanocrystalline metallic materials. As another example, electron backscatter diffraction technique also cannot be used widely in the characterization of these materials due to problems such as relative poor spatial resolution (which is ~90 nm) and the degradation of Kikuchi diffraction patterns in severely deformed nano-size grain metallic materials.

In this study, ASTAR/precession electron diffraction is introduced as a relatively new orientation microscopy technique to characterize defects (e.g., geometrically necessary dislocations and grain boundaries) in challenging nanocrystalline metallic materials. The capability of this characterization technique to quantitatively determine the dislocation density distributions of geometrically necessary dislocations in severely deformed metallic materials is assessed. Based on the developed method, it is possible to determine the distributions and accumulations of dislocations with respect to the nearest grain boundaries and triple junctions. Also, the competency of this technique to study the grain boundary character distributions of nanocrystalline metallic materials is presented.


Copyright Owner

Iman Ghamarian



File Format


File Size

219 pages