Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



NATURE COMMUNICATIONS | (2022) 13:20 | |


Open access


The abrupt occurrence of twinning when Mg is deformed leads to a highly anisotropic response, making it too unreliable for structural use and too unpredictable for observation. Here, we describe an in-situ transmission electron microscopy experiment on Mg crystals with strategically designed geometries for visualization of a long-proposed but unverified twinning mechanism. Combining with atomistic simulations and topological analysis, we conclude that twin nucleation occurs through a pure-shuffle mechanism that requires prismatic-basal transformations. Also, we verified a crystal geometry dependent twin growth mechanism, that is the early-stage growth associated with instability of plasticity flow, which can be dominated either by slower movement of prismatic-basal boundary steps, or by faster glide-shuffle along the twinning plane. The fundamental understanding of twinning provides a pathway to understand deformation from a scientific standpoint and the microstructure design principles to engineer metals with enhanced behavior from a technological standpoint.