Strengthening mechanisms in nanostructured copper/304 stainless steel multilayers Academic Article uri icon

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  • Nanostructured Cu/304 stainless steel (SS) multilayers were prepared by magnetron sputtering. 304SS has a face-centered-cubic (fcc) structure in bulk. However, in the Cu/304SS multilayers, the 304SS layers exhibit the fcc structure for layer thickness of ≤5 nm in epitaxy with the neighboring fcc Cu. For 304SS layer thickness larger than 5 nm, body-centered-cubic (bcc) 304SS grains grow on top of the initial 5 nm fcc SS with the Kurdjumov-Sachs orientation relationship between bcc and fcc SS grains. The maximum hardness of Cu/304SS multilayers is about 5.5 GPa (factor of two enhancement compared to rule-of-mixtures hardness) at a layer thickness of 5 nm. Below 5 nm, hardness decreases with decreasing layer thickness. The peak hardness of fcc/fcc Cu/304SS multilayer is greater than that of Cu/Ni, even though the lattice-parameter mismatch between Cu and Ni is five times greater than that between Cu and 304SS. This result may primarily be attributed to the higher interface barrier stress for single-dislocation transmission across the {111} twinned interfaces in Cu/304SS as compared to the {100} interfaces in Cu/Ni.


  • Zhang, X
  • Misra, A
  • Wang, H
  • Shen, TD
  • Swadener, JG
  • Embury, Johndavid
  • Kung, H
  • Hoagland, RG
  • Nastasi, M

publication date

  • July 2003