Plastic lattice strain anisotropy in polycrystalline aggregates involves complicated integration of single crystal elastic anisotropy, grain-grain interactions and orientation-dependent slip activations. It is essential to experimentally determine plastic lattice strain anisotropy for in-depth understanding elasto-plastic deformation mechanisms and rationalizing advanced models. Unlike the widely applied method for quantifying elastic lattice strain anisotropy utilizing diffraction peak shift, accurately evaluating plastic lattice strain anisotropy is still enormously challenging over the decades. In this work, we developed a new diffraction line profile breadth analysis approach to reliably assessing plastic lattice strain anisotropy based on the simple linear dependence in quasi elasto-plastic model. The approach is confirmed to be effective and adaptive in practical application by linearization of the experimental dependences for line profile broadening in nickel under various cold-working strain paths. Then the orientation-dependent plastic lattice strain values could be reliably estimated up to high strain levels, which were identical to the magnitude of published elastic lattice strain. The strain levels and strain paths dependent plastic anisotropy magnitude was also inferred and further compared with the results from classical elastic models, i.e., Reuss, Voigt, Reuss-Voigt average and Eshelby-Kröner models. Simultaneously, by further carrying out microstructural characterization and dislocation model based line profile analysis, correlative texture and dislocation (arrangement and edge/screw constituent) developments were found to be strongly depended on strain paths, as well as verified to be the primary contributions to strain anisotropy. In addition to the proposed explanations in two-phase composite model, the strain hardening was demonstrated to be impacted by strain anisotropy behaviors as well. The fundamental mechanisms and significance of above interrelated effects under various strain paths were also well discussed.
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