When a metal is subjected to extremely rapid compression, a shock wave is launched that generates dislocations as it propagates. The shock wave evolves into a characteristic two-wave structure, with an elastic wave preceding a plastic front. It has been known for more than six decades that the amplitude of the elastic wave decays the farther it travels into the metal: this is known as "the decay of the elastic precursor." The amplitude of the elastic precursor is a dynamic yield point because it marks the transition from elastic to plastic behavior. In this Letter we provide a full explanation of this attenuation using the first method of dislocation dynamics to treat the time dependence of the elastic fields of dislocations explicitly. We show that the decay of the elastic precursor is a result of the interference of the elastic shock wave with elastic waves emanating from dislocations nucleated in the shock front. Our simulations reproduce quantitatively recent experiments on the decay of the elastic precursor in aluminum and its dependence on strain rate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)