Microstructure evolution is largely dominated by the internal stress fields that appear upon the appearance of inhomogeneous structures in a material. The hardening behaviour of metals physically originates from such a complex microstructure evolution. As deformation proceeds, statistically homogeneous distributions of dislocations in grains become unstable, which constitutes the driving force for the development of a pronounced dislocation substructure. The dislocation structure already appears at early stages of deformation due to the statistical trapping of dislocations. Cell walls contain dislocation dipoles and multipoles with high dislocation densities and enclose cell-interior regions with a considerably smaller dislocation density. The presence and evolution of such a dislocation arrangement in the material influence the mechanical response of the material and is commonly associated with the transient hardening after strain path changes. This contribution introduces a micromechanical continuum model of the dislocation cell structure based on the physics of the dislocation interactions. The approximation of the internal stress field in such a microstructure and the impact on the macroscopic mechanical response are the main items investigated here.
Geers, M. G. D., Viatkina, E. M., & Brekelmans, W. A. M. (2006). Microstructural instabilities: dislocation substructures with pronounced mechanical effects. Philosophical Magazine, 86(21-22), 3161-3173. https://doi.org/10.1080/14786430500197769