; 5
where d
p
is the particle size, Da is the dierence in the
coecients of the thermal expansion, DT is the dierence
between the processing and test temperatures.
The improvement factor f
Orowan
related to the Orowan
strengthening of nanoparticles introduced in Eq. (2) can
be expressed as,
f
Orowan
Dr
Orowan
=r
ym
; 6
where Dr
Orowan
has been described by the OrowanAshby
equation [24],
Dr
Orowan
0:13G
m
b
k
ln
r
b
; 7
where r is the particle radius, r = d
p
/2, and k is the interpar
ticle spacing, expressed as [16,35],
k d
p
1
2V
p
_ _1
3
1
_ _
. 8
Substituting Eqs. (3)(8) into Eq. (2) and considering
DT = T
process
T
test
, Da = a
m
a
p
, one can derive the fol
lowing equation for the yield strength of MMNCs,
r
yc
1 0:5V
p
r
ym
A B
AB
r
ym
_ _
; 9
A 1:25G
m
b
12T
process
T
test
a
m
a
p
V
p
bd
p
1 V
p
; 9a
B
0:13G
m
b
d
p
1
2V p
_ _1
3
1
_ _ ln
d
p
2b
. 9b
Fig. 1 presents the analytical results of the eect of the
volume fraction (V
p
) on the yield strength based on
Eq. (9) for dierent sizes of reinforcement nanoparticu
lates (d
p
). The data for the nanoAl
2
O
3
particulate
reinforced magnesium nanocomposites tested at room
temperature [8,36] are used: r
ym
= 97 MPa, E
m
= 42.8 GPa,
m = 0.3, G
m
= E
m
/[2(1 + m)] = 16.5 GPa, b = 0.32 nm,
a
m
= 28.4 10
6
(C)
1
, a
p
= 9.0 10
6
(C)
1
, T
process
=
300 C, T
test
= 20 C, and d
p
= 20, 30, 40, 50, 70 and
100 nm. Two trends can be seen fromFig. 1: (i) a higher vol
ume fraction of nanoparticles leads to a higher yield
strength; (ii) the nanoparticle size has a strong eect on
the yield strength. A small volume fraction of nanoparticu
lates of less than 0.06 can signicantly improve the yield
strength of MMNCs.
3. Verication of the model and discussion
The yield strength predicted via the present model, i.e.,
Eq. (9), in a nanoAl
2
O
3
particulatereinforced magnesium
nanocomposite as a function of nanoparticle size can be
seen in Fig. 2. Clearly, the nanoparticle size has a signi
cant eect on the yield strength when the volume fraction
is slightly higher, e.g., V
p
P0.01. Another important point
is that the improvement in the yield strength of the
MMNCs becomes very strong when the nanoparticle size
is smaller than about 100 nm. This is in agreement with
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
0 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.06
Volume fraction of nanoparticles
Y
i
e
l
d
s
t
r
e
n
g
t
h
,
M
P
a
dp=20 nm
dp=30 nm
dp=40 nm
dp=50 nm
dp=70 nm
dp=100 nm
Fig. 1. Yield strength as a function of volume fraction of nanoparticles for
dierent particle sizes in nanoAl
2
O
3
particulatereinforced magnesium
nanocomposites tested at 20 C.
Z. Zhang, D.L. Chen / Scripta Materialia 54 (2006) 13211326 1323
the experimental results [8,36], and provides a theoretical
support to the terminology of nanotechnology, e.g.,
dened by the US National Science Foundation [37], where
. . . The novel and dierentiating properties and functions
are developed at a critical length scale of matter typically
under 100 nm. . . is specied. Most researchers [9,14] in
the area of nanocomposites have also done their research
by controlling the nanoparticle size below 100 nm. Thus,
100 nm is the critical size for nanoparticulatereinforced
MMNCs to produce excellent mechanical properties, com
pared to the counterpart of microparticulatereinforced
MMCs.
Good agreement between the present model prediction,
based on Eq. (9), and the experimental data is observed
and shown in Fig. 3. It is seen that the present model can
be used to better predict the yield strength than Rama
krishnans model [15], thus indicating that Orowan
strengthening eect should be taken into account in
MMNCs. Since the tensile bar contained rod shaped
Al
2
O
3
nanoparticles [8], the strengthening eect of such a
rod shape should be higher than the spherical one [24]. In
our model all nanoparticles were assumed to be spherical.
This is probably why our model slightly underestimates
the rst two experimental data. On the other hand, with
increasing volume fraction of the reinforcement particles,
the probability of forming the processinginduced voids
becomes higher, leading to a degradation of the yield
strength [38]. This would be the main reason why the third
experimental value was somewhat lower than our model
prediction, because in the present model no porosity was
considered within the nanocomposites.
To further verify our model, another comparison
between the present model prediction and the experimental
data reported in Ref. [39] is shown in Fig. 4, where the
eect of the particle shape related to Orowan strengthening
is also considered [24,39]. The following data for the Y
2
O
3

reinforced titanium nanocomposites tested at room tem
perature are used: r
ym
= 330 MPa [39]; G
m
= 44.8 GPa,
b = 0.29 nm [40]; a
m
= 11.9 10
6
(C)
1
[41], a
p
=
9.3 10
6
(C)
1
[42], T
process
= 827 C for A
1
, B
1
, C
1
, D
1
and 900 C for A
2
, B
2
, C
2
, and d
p
= 2, 10, 9, 13, 40, 10
and 30 nm [39]. On the basis of the values of the weight
fraction given in Ref. [39], the following converted values
of volume fraction V
p
= 0.25, 0.38, 0.59, 0.59, 0.27, 0.41
and 0.54% are utilized.
Again, good agreement between the model prediction
for the minimum sized reinforcement particles and the
experimental data is seen in Fig. 4, where a combined eect
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1000
0 50 100 150 200
Nanoparticle size, nm
Y
i
e
l
d
s
t
r
e
n
g
t
h
,
M
P
a
Vp=0.001
Vp=0.005
Vp=0.01
Vp=0.02
Vp=0.03
Vp=0.04
Vp=0.05
Fig. 2. Yield strength as a function of nanoparticle size for dierent
volume fractions in nanoAl
2
O
3
particulatereinforced magnesium nano
composites tested at 20 C.
50
100
150
200
250
0.001 0.006 0.011 0.016
Volume fraction of nanoparticles
Y
i
e
l
d
s
t
r
e
n
g
t
h
,
M
P
a
Present model, Eq. (9)
Experimental data [8]
Ramakrishnan's model [15]
Fig. 3. A comparison of the present model with Ramakrishnans model
[15] and with the experimental data for nanoAl
2
O
3
particulatereinforced
magnesium nanocomposites tested at 20 C [8].
400
500
600
700
800
900
400 500 600 700 800 900
YS predicted by present model, MPa
E
x
p
e
r
i
m
e
n
t
a
l
Y
S
,
M
P
a
Fig. 4. A comparison of the prediction via the present model with the
experimental data for Y
2
O
3
particulatereinforced titanium nanocompos
ites tested at room temperature, where the error bar was based on the
range given in Ref. [39].
1324 Z. Zhang, D.L. Chen / Scripta Materialia 54 (2006) 13211326
of the variation in the volume fraction of nanoparticles,
thermomechanical treatment, and microstructure has been
taken into consideration.
The above comparison between the present model
prediction and the experimental data corroborates that it
is necessary to consider Orowan strengthening in MMNCs.
Fig. 5 shows an example of the comparison among the
three improvement factors (f
l
, f
d
, f
Orowan
) as a function of
the volume fraction of nanoparticles with a size of 50 nm
in nanoAl
2
O
3
particulatereinforced Mg nanocomposites.
It is also seen that Orowan strengthening plays a signicant
role in MMNCs, while the loadbearing eect becomes very
small.
4. Conclusions
(1) A model for predicting the yield strength of intra
granular type of metal matrix nanocomposites
(MMNCs) is proposed on the basis of the strengthen
ing eects characterized by the modied shear lag
model, enhanced dislocation density model, and the
Orowan strengthening eect.
(2) It is shown that the yield strength of MMNCs is
governed by the size and volume fraction of nanopar
ticles, the dierence in the coecients of thermal
expansion between the matrix and nanoparticles,
and the temperature change after processing.
(3) The present model indicates that 100 nm is a critical
size of nanoparticles to improve the yield strength
of MMNCs, below which the yield strength increases
remarkably with decreasing particle size.
(4) The proposed model shows excellent agreement with
the experimental data reported in the literature, indi
cating that it is necessary to consider Orowan
strengthening in MMNCs.
Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank the nancial support
provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Re
search Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Premiers Re
search Excellence Award (PREA).
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