Identification of active slip mode in a hexagonal material by correlative scanning electron microscopy

Xu Xu, David Lunt, Rhys Thomas, Prasath Babu Revathy Rajan, Allan Harte, Michael Atkinson, João Quinta da Fonseca, Michael Preuss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Metals with a hexagonal close packed structure can deform by several different slip modes with different Critical Resolved Shear Stresses, which provides a great deal of complexity when considering mechanical performance of Mg, Ti and Zr alloys. Hence, an accurate but also statistically meaningful analysis of active slip systems and their contribution to plasticity is of great importance for the understanding of deformation mechanism. In the present study, a correlative scanning electron microscopy-based method of slip trace analysis has been utilised to provide statistical, accurate information of slip behaviour in a weakly textured Ti-6Al-4V alloy with a plastic strain of ~2%. This is achieved through grain orientation mapping by Electron Backscatter Diffraction and strain mapping by High Resolution Digital Image Correlation. The initial identification of slip mode was performed by comparing the slip trace captured in the high-resolution effective shear strain map with all theoretical slip planes with an angle acceptance criterion of ±5°. Ambiguity in slip mode identification was further resolved using the Relative Displacement Ratio method, which enables the determination of the Burgers vector directly from the displacement data. The correctness of the identified slip modes has been confirmed by detailed dislocation analysis using Bright Field Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy on thin foils extracted from specific grains employing Focused Ion Beam. This detailed investigation demonstrates the robustness of the slip trace analysis based on grain orientation and high-resolution strain mapping.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Materialia
Early online date19 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Slip system
  • High-resolution electron microscopy
  • Titanium alloy
  • Digital image correlation


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