Diffusional Viscosity of a Polycrystalline Solid
According to a suggestion of Nabarro, any crystal can change its shape by self‐diffusion in such way as to yield to an applied shearing stress, and this can cause the macroscopic behavior of a polycrystalline solid to be like that of a viscous fluid. It is possible that this phenomenon is the predominant cause of creep at very high temperatures and very low stresses, though not under more usual conditions. The theory underlying it is developed quantitatively, and calculations of rate of creep, or equivalently of effective viscosity, are given for aggregates of quasi‐spherical grains and for wires composed of cylindrical grains. Allowance is made for the effect of tangential stress relaxation at the grain boundaries. It is suggested that mosaic boundaries and boundaries between grains of nearly the same orientation may be unable to serve as sources or sinks of the diffusion currents, in which case the creep rate will depend only on the configuration of grain boundaries having a sizable orientation difference. Numerical comparison of the theory with experiments on the high temperature creep of wires favors this view, but is not entirely satisfactory. Suggestions for further experiments are made.