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Towards realistic molecular dynamics simulations of grain boundary mobility
In order to investigate grain boundary migration by molecular dynamics (MD) simulations a new approach involving a crystal orientation-dependent driving force has been developed by imposing an appropriate driving force on grain boundary atoms and enlarging the effective range of driving force. The new approach has been validated by the work of the driving force associated with the motion of grain boundaries. With the new approach the relation between boundary migration velocity and driving force is found to be nonlinear, as was expected from rate theory for large driving forces applied in MD simulations. By evaluating grain boundary mobility nonlinearly for a set of symmetrical 〈1 1 1〉 tilt boundaries in aluminum at high temperature, high-angle grain boundaries were shown to move much faster than low-angle grain boundaries. This agrees well with experimental findings for recrystallization and grain growth. In comparison with the available data the simulated mobility of a 38.21° Σ7 boundary was found to be significantly lower than other MD simulation results and comparable with the experimental values. Furthermore, the average volume involved during atomic jumps for boundary migration is determined in MD simulations for the first time. The large magnitude of the volume indicates that grain boundary migration is accomplished by the correlated motion of atom groups.