The 3-Dimensional X-Ray Diffraction (3DXRD) Microscope at beamline ID11 of the ESRF is a unique instrument for studies of polycrystalline materials. Combining the use of high energy x-rays with a tomographic approach to acquisition of diffraction data, it enables a 3D structural characterization within mm-cm size specimens and on a scale of 0.3-5 microns. The individual grains and sub-grains can be characterized with respect to their position, shape, phase, crystallographic orientation, elastic and plastic strain.
The study of the dynamics of microstructure development during the deformation and recrystallization of polycrystalline materials has been severely hindered by the general inability to non-destructively collect information on individual interior grains during the deformation and annealing processes. Although theoretical models exist which successfully predict overall properties such as the average texture development and flow stress evolution, there has been to date no method for experimentally verifying the model predictions on the level of an individual grain. Data sets on the order of hundreds of grains have been collected for both the dynamics of grain rotation during plastic deformation and the kinetics of nucleation and growth during recrystallization. In both cases it has been clearly demonstrated that the behavior of individual grains does not follow classical models for average grains. The basic principle of the 3DXRD methodology will be presented, and results in the area of plastic deformation and rescrystallization will be presented.