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The slip plane of a dislocation is dened as the plane that contains both
the dislocation and its Burgers vector. Since the Burgers vector is parallel
to a screw dislocation, any plane containing the dislocation is a possible
slip plane. (See Fig. 4.28A.) On the other hand, the Burgers vector of an
edge dislocation is perpendicular to the dislocation, and there is only one
possible slip plane. (See Fig. 4.28B.) A screw dislocation may move by slip
or glide in any direction perpendicular to itself, but an edge dislocation
can only glide in its single slip plane.

There is, however, another method, fundamentally different from slip, by

which an edge dislocation can move. This process is called climb and
involves motion in a direction perpendicular to the slip plane.

Figure 4.29A represents a view of an edge dislocation with the extra plane
perpendicular to the plane of the paper and designated by lled circles. In
this diagram, a vacancy or vacant lattice site has moved up to a position
just to the right of atom a, one of the atoms forming the edge or boundary
of the extra plane. If atom a jumps into the vacancy, the edge of the
dislocation loses one atom, as is shown in Fig. 4.29B, where atom c,

designated with a crossed circle, represents the next atom of the edge
(lying just below the plane of the paper). If atom c and all others that
formed the original edge of the extra planes move off through interaction
with vacancies, the edge dislocation will climb one atomic distance in a
direction perpendicular to the slip plane. This situation is shown in Fig.
4.29C. Climb, as illustrated in the above example, is designated as
positive climb and results in a decrease in size of the extra plane.
Negative climb corresponds to the opposite of the above in that the extra
plane grows in size instead of shrinking. A mechanism for negative climb
is illustrated in Fig. 4.30A and Fig. 4.30B.
In this case, let us suppose that atom a of Fig. 4.30A moves to the left and
joins the extra plane, leaving a vacancy to its right, as is shown in Fig.
4.30B. This vacancy then moves off into the crystal. Notice that this is
again an atom by atom procedure and not a cooperative movement of the
entire row of atoms lying behind atom a.

Thus, atom c (crossed circle), shown in Fig. 4.30B, represents the atom
originally behind atom a. A cooperative movement of all atoms in the row
behind a corresponds to slip and not to climb.
Because we are removing material from inside the crystal as the extra
plane itself grows smaller, the effect of positive climb on the crystal is to
cause it to shrink in a direction parallel to the slip plane (perpendicular to
the extra plane). Positive climb is therefore associated with a compressive
strain and will be promoted by a compressive stress component
perpendicular to the extra plane. Similarly, a tensile stress applied
perpendicular to the extra plane of an edge dislocation promotes the
growth of the plane and thus negative climb. A fundamental difference
therefore exists between the nature of the stress that produces slip and
that which produces climb. Slip occurs as the result of shear stress; climb
as the result of a normal stress (tensile or compressive).
Both positive and negative climb require that vacancies move through the
lattice, toward the dislocation in the rst case and away from it in the
second case. If the concentration of vacancies and their jump rate is very

low, then it is not expected that edge dislocations will climb. As we shall
see, vacancies in most metals are practically immobile at low
temperatures (one jump in eleven days in copper at room temperature),
but at high temperatures they move with great rapidity, and their
equilibrium number increases exponentially by many powers. Climb,
therefore, is a phenomenon that becomes increasingly important as the
temperature rises. Slip, on the other hand, is only slightly inuenced by


Cross-slip is a phenomenon that can occur in crystals when there are two
or more slip planes with a common slip direction. As an example, take the
hexagonal metal magnesium in which, at low temperatures, slip can occur
either on the basal plane or on {10 0} prism planes. These two types of
planes have common slip directionsthe close-packed
11 0 directions. The relative orientations of the basal plane and one prism
plane are shown in Fig. 5.20A and 5.20B, where each diagram is supposed
to represent a crystal in

the same basic orientation (basal plane parallel to the top and bottom
surfaces). In the rst sketch, the crystal is sheared on the basal plane,
while in the second it is sheared on the prism plane. The third illustration,
Fig. 5.20C, shows the nature of cross-slip. Here it is observed that the

actual slip surface is not a single plane, but is made up of segments, part
of which lie in the basal plane and part in the prism plane. The resulting
prole of the slip surface has the appearance of a staircase. A simple
analogy for cross-slip is furnished by a drawer in a piece of furniture. The
sliding of the sides and bottom of the drawer relative to the frame of the
piece is basically similar to the shearing motion that results from crossslip.
A photograph of a magnesium crystal showing cross-slip is given in Fig.
5.21, where the plane of the photograph is equivalent to the forward faces
of the schematic crystals shown in Fig. 5.20. Notice that while the slip in
this specimen has occurred primarily along a prism plane, cross-slip
segments on the basal plane are clearly evident.
During cross-slip the dislocations producing the deformation must, of
necessity, shift from one slip plane to the other. In the example given
above, the dislocations move from prism plane to basal plane and back to
prism plane. The actual shift of the dislocation from one plane to another
can only occur for a dislocation in the screw orientation. Edge dislocations,
as was pointed out earlier, have their Burgers vector normal to their
dislocation lines. Since the active slip plane must contain both the Burgers
vector and the dislocation line, edge dislocations are conned to move in
a single slip plane. Screw dislocations, with their Burgers vectors parallel
to the dislocation lines, are capable of moving in any plane that passes
through the dislocation line. The manner in which a screw dislocation can
produce a step in a slip plane is shown schematically in Fig. 5.22.


A slip band is a group of closely spaced slip lines that appears, at low
magnication, to be a single large slip line. In many metals slip bands
tend to be wavy and irregular in appearance; this is evidence that the
dislocations that produce the bands in these metals are not so conned as
to move in a single plane. The shifting of the dislocations from one slip
plane to another is usually the result of the cross-slip of screw
The resolution of the individual slip lines in a slip band is normally a task
requiring the use of an electron microscope. However, when a slip band is
observed on a surface that is nearly parallel to the active slip plane, it is
sometimes possible to partially resolve the components of a slip band with
a light microscope. An example of slip markings and the corresponding
dislocation arrays after deformation of gold is shown in Fig. 5.23.