Non-Destructive Quantification of Plastic Deformation in Steel – Employing X-Ray Diffraction Peak Broadening Analysis


  1. Farrell, S.P.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Atlantic, Dartmouth NS (CAN)
The X-ray diffraction (XRD) pattern of an alloy, such as steel, reveals, among other properties (ex., phase composition, crystal structure), information about the strain state, crystallite (domain) size and dislocation density. While well-established non-destructive methods are available to quantify elastic strain (and residual stress); dislocation density has proven to be a particularly elusive quantity to evaluate non-destructively. Dislocation density provides important information about the state of a material and the extent to which it was deformed. This has a strong influence on the mechanical behaviour of a material during and after deformation. The goal of this work is to examine the underpinning science behind XRD peak broadening analysis and develop a methodology for evaluating plastic deformation in ferromagnetic steel alloys. An overview of the principles of XRD, how the crystallographic structure of steel accommodates stress and how X-rays interact with steel structures are documented. A historical perspective on XRD peak broadening analysis is provided. Two approaches, the modified Williamson–Hall and Warren–Averbach, have been identified to enable quantification of dislocation density and crystallite size. Both approaches that account for strain anisotropy are believed to offer the best potential for success. A variety of potential defence applications have been identified and a possible way ahead for advancement of this technology has been mapped. It is th

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Report Number
DRDC-ATLANTIC-TM-2012-102 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Sep 2013
Number of Pages
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