Can equations of equilibrium predict all physical equilibria? A case study from Field Dislocation Mechanics
Numerical solutions of a one-dimensional model of screw dislocation walls (twist boundaries) are explored. The model is an exact reduction of the three-dimensional system of partial differential equations of Field Dislocation Mechanics. It shares features of both Ginzburg–Landau (GL)-type gradient flow equations and hyperbolic conservation laws, but is qualitatively different from both. We demonstrate such similarities and differences in an effort to understand the equation through simulation. A primary result is the existence of spatially non-periodic, extremely slowly evolving (quasi-equilibrium) cell-wall dislocation microstructures practically indistinguishable from equilibria, which however cannot be solutions to the equilibrium equations of the model, a feature shared with certain types of GL equations. However, we show that the class of quasi-equilibria comprising a spatially non-periodic microstructure consisting of fronts is larger than that of the GL equations associated with the energy of the model. In addition, under applied strain-controlled loading, a single dislocation wall is shown to be capable of moving as a localized entity, as expected in a physical model of dislocation dynamics, in contrast to the associated GL equations. The collective evolution of the quasi-equilibrium cell-wall microstructure exhibits a yielding-type behavior as bulk plasticity ensues, and the effective stress–strain response under loading is found to be rate-dependent. The numerical scheme employed is non-conventional, since wave-type behavior has to be accounted for, and interesting features of two different schemes are discussed. Interestingly, a stable scheme conjectured by us to produce a non-physical result in the present context nevertheless suggests a modified continuum model that appears to incorporate apparent intermittency.