nanoHUB Materials Simulation Homework: Engineering the Yield Stress of a Material by Controlling Grain Size

By Marisol Koslowski1, Tanya Faltens1

1. Purdue University

Published on


This homework assignment uses the nanoplasticity lab simulation tool to enable students to explore how grain size and the competing plastic deformation mechanisms of dislocation motion and grain boundary sliding affect the yield stress of a sample.  Students create conditions that lead to both the Hall-Petch and inverse Hall-Petch effects, and are asked to explain how the factors involved can lead to these two different results.


Dr. Marisol Koslowski  is an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University.  Previously she was a Technical Staff Member in the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  She received her B.S. degree in Physics in 1997 from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina and her M.S in 1999 and her Ph. D. in Aeronautics in 2003 from the California Institute of Technology. Her research interests are the development of theoretical and numerical tools to study the mechanical response of materials and structures, especially at micro- and nano- scales.

Dr. Tanya Faltens is the Educational Content Creation Manager for the Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN). Her technical background is in Materials Science and Engineering (Ph.D. UCLA 2002), and she has several years’ experience in hands-on informal science education, including working at the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley.  Dr. Faltens' current projects include investigating the value added to education by incorporating simulations, creating pathways to introduce students to research opportunities in computational simulations, connecting with teaching faculty around the world to share ideas on how nanoHUB simulations and other educational resources can be used in their courses, and encouraging them to publish their own material on nanoHUB. 


Marisol Koslowski, Dong-Wook Lee and Lei Lei, Role of the grain boundary energetics on the maximum strength of nanocrystalline Nickel, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 59 1427-1436, 2011.

Martin Hunt; Lei Cao; Alejandro Strachan; Marisol Koslowski (2014), "NanoPlasticity Lab," (DOI: 10.4231/D3X63B611).

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Marisol Koslowski, Tanya Faltens (2015), "nanoHUB Materials Simulation Homework: Engineering the Yield Stress of a Material by Controlling Grain Size,"

    BibTex | EndNote