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  1. Pressure-induced phase transformations (PTs) in Si, the most important electronic material, have been broadly studied. However, strain-induced PTs in Si were never studied in situ. Here, we revealed in situ various important plastic strain-induced PT phenomena. A correlation between the particle size's direct and inverse Hall-Petch effect on yield strength and pressure for strain-induced PT is found. For 100 nm particles, strain-induced PT Si-I³Si-II initiates at 0.3 GPa versus 16.2 GPa under hydrostatic conditions; Si-I³Si-III PT starts at 0.6 GPa and does not occur under hydrostatic pressure. Pressure in small Si-II and Si-III regions is ~5-7 GPa higher than in Si-I. Retaining Si-II and single-phase Si-III at ambient pressure and obtaining reverse Si-II³Si-I PT demonstrates the possibilities of manipulating different synthetic paths. The obtained results corroborate the elaborated dislocation pileup-based mechanism and have numerous applications for developing economic defect-induced synthesis of nanostructured materials, surface treatment (polishing, turning, etc.), and friction. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 6, 2025
  2. The first study of the effect of the initial microstructure on its evolution under hydrostatic compression before, during, and after the irreversible α → ω phase transformation and during pressure release in Zr using in situ x-ray diffraction is presented. Two samples were studied: one is plastically pre-deformed Zr with saturated hardness and the other is annealed. Phase transformation α → ω initiates at lower pressure for pre-deformed sample but above volume fraction of ω Zr c = 0.7, larger volume fraction is observed for the annealed sample. This implies that the general theory based on the proportionality between the athermal resistance to the transformation and the yield strength must be essentially advanced. The crystal domain size significantly reduces, and microstrain and dislocation density increase during loading for both α and ω phases in their single-phase regions. For the α phase, domain sizes are much smaller for prestrained Zr, while microstrain and dislocation densities are much higher. For the cold-rolled sample at 5.9 GPa (just before initiation of transformation), domain size in α Zr decreased to ∼ 45 nm and dislocation density increased to 1.1 × 1015 lines/m2 , values similar to those after severe plastic deformation under high pressure. Despite the generally accepted concept that hydrostatic pressure does not cause plastic straining, it does and is estimated. During transformation, the first rule was found: The average domain size, microstrain, and dislocation density in ω Zr for c < 0.8 are functions of the volume fraction of ω Zr only, which are independent of the plastic strain tensor prior to transformation and pressure. The microstructure is not inherited during phase transformation. Surprisingly, for the annealed sample, the final dislocation density and average microstrain after pressure release in the ω phase are larger than for the severely pre-deformed sample. The significant evolution of the microstructure and its effect on phase transformation demonstrates that their postmortem evaluation does not represent the actual conditions during loading. A simple model for the initiation of the phase transformation involving microstrain is suggested. The results suggest that an extended experimental basis is required for the predictive models for the combined pressure-induced phase transformations and microstructure evolutions. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 22, 2025
  3. Severe plastic deformations under high pressure are used to produce nanostructured materials but were studied ex-situ. We introduce rough diamond anvils to reach maximum friction equal to yield strength in shear and perform the first in-situ study of the evolution of the pressure-dependent yield strength and nanostructural parameters for severely pre-deformed Zr. ω-Zr behaves like perfectly plastic, isotropic, and strain-path-independent. This is related to reaching steady values of the crystallite size and dislocation density, which are pressure-, strain- and strain-path-independent. However, steady states for α-Zr obtained with smooth and rough anvils are different, which causes major challenge in plasticity theory. 
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