Qi Chao

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  • Article
    Crystallographic preferred orientation (CPO) development governs strain weakening in ice: insights from high-temperature deformation experiments
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-12-06) Fan, Sheng ; Cross, Andrew J. ; Prior, David J. ; Goldsby, David L. ; Hager, Travis F. ; Negrini, Marianne ; Qi, Chao
    Strain weakening leads to the formation of high-strain shear zones and strongly influences terrestrial ice discharge. In glacial flow models, strain weakening is assumed to arise from the alignment of weak basal planes—the development of a crystallographic preferred orientation, CPO—during flow. However, in experiments, ice strain weakening also coincides with grain size reduction, which has been invoked as a weakening mechanism in other minerals. To interrogate the relative contributions of CPO development and grain size reduction toward ice strain weakening, we deformed initially isotropic polycrystalline ice samples to progressively higher strains between −4 and −30°C. Microstructural measurements were subsequently combined with flow laws to separately model the mechanical response expected to arise from CPO development and grain size reduction. Magnitudes of strain weakening predicted by the constitutive flow laws were then compared with the experimental measurements. Flow laws that only consider grain size do not predict weakening with strain despite grain size reduction. In contrast, flow laws solely considering CPO effects can reproduce the measured strain weakening. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that strain weakening in ice is dominated by CPO development, at least under high temperature (Th ≥ 0.9) and high stress (>1 MPa), like those in our experiments. We speculate that at high homologous temperatures (Th ≥ 0.9), CPO development will also govern the strain weakening behavior of other viscously anisotropic minerals, like olivine and quartz. Overall, we emphasize that geodynamic and glaciological models should incorporate CPOs to account for strain weakening, especially at high homologous temperatures.
  • Article
    Temperature and strain controls on ice deformation mechanisms: Insights from the microstructures of samples deformed to progressively higher strains at-10,-20 and-30 degrees C
    (European Geosciences Union, 2020-11-10) Fan, Sheng ; Hager, Travis F. ; Prior, David J. ; Cross, Andrew J. ; Goldsby, David L. ; Qi, Chao ; Negrini, Marianne ; Wheeler, John
    In order to better understand ice deformation mechanisms, we document the microstructural evolution of ice with increasing strain. We include data from experiments at relatively low temperatures (−20 and −30 ∘C), where the microstructural evolution with axial strain has never before been documented. Polycrystalline pure water ice was deformed under a constant displacement rate (strain rate ∼1.0×10−5 s−1) to progressively higher strains (∼ 3 %, 5 %, 8 %, 12 % and 20 %) at temperatures of −10, −20 and −30 ∘C. Microstructural data were generated from cryogenic electron backscattered diffraction (cryo-EBSD) analyses. All deformed samples contain subgrain (low-angle misorientations) structures with misorientation axes that lie dominantly in the basal plane, suggesting the activity of dislocation creep (glide primarily on the basal plane), recovery and subgrain rotation. Grain boundaries are lobate in all experiments, suggesting the operation of strain-induced grain boundary migration (GBM). Deformed ice samples are characterized by interlocking big and small grains and are, on average, finer grained than undeformed samples. Misorientation analyses between nearby grains in 2-D EBSD maps are consistent with some 2-D grains being different limbs of the same irregular grain in the 3-D volume. The proportion of repeated (i.e. interconnected) grains is greater in the higher-temperature experiments suggesting that grains have more irregular shapes, probably because GBM is more widespread at higher temperatures. The number of grains per unit area (accounting for multiple occurrences of the same 3-D grain) is higher in deformed samples than undeformed samples, and it increases with strain, suggesting that nucleation is involved in recrystallization. “Core-and-mantle” structures (rings of small grains surrounding big grains) occur in −20 and −30 ∘C experiments, suggesting that subgrain rotation recrystallization is active. At temperatures warmer than −20 ∘C, c axes develop a crystallographic preferred orientation (CPO) characterized by a cone (i.e. small circle) around the compression axis. We suggest the c-axis cone forms via the selective growth of grains in easy slip orientations (i.e. ∼ 45∘ to shortening direction) by GBM. The opening angle of the c-axis cone decreases with strain, suggesting strain-induced GBM is balanced by grain rotation. Furthermore, the opening angle of the c-axis cone decreases with temperature. At −30 ∘C, the c-axis CPO changes from a narrow cone to a cluster, parallel to compression, with increasing strain. This closure of the c-axis cone is interpreted as the result of a more active grain rotation together with a less effective GBM. We suggest that lattice rotation, facilitated by intracrystalline dislocation glide on the basal plane, is the dominant mechanism controlling grain rotation. Low-angle neighbour-pair misorientations, relating to subgrain boundaries, are more extensive and extend to higher misorientation angles at lower temperatures and higher strains supporting a relative increase in the importance of dislocation activity. As the temperature decreases, the overall CPO intensity decreases, primarily because the CPO of small grains is weaker. High-angle grain boundaries between small grains have misorientation axes that have distributed crystallographic orientations. This implies that, in contrast to subgrain boundaries, grain boundary misorientation is not controlled by crystallography. Nucleation during recrystallization cannot be explained by subgrain rotation recrystallization alone. Grain boundary sliding of finer grains or a different nucleation mechanism that generates grains with random orientations could explain the weaker CPO of the fine-grained fraction and the lack of crystallographic control on high-angle grain boundaries.