We demonstrate a novel approach to study shear banding in machining at low speeds using a low melting point alloy. In situ imaging and an image correlation method, particle image velocimetry (PIV), are used to capture shear band nucleation and quantitatively analyze the temporal evolution of the localized plastic flow around a shear band. The observations show that the shear band onset is governed by a critical shear stress criterion, while the displacement field around a freshly nucleated shear band evolves in a manner resembling the classical boundary layer formation in viscous fluids. The relevant shear band parameters, the stress at band formation, and local shear band viscosity are presented.

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