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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2010 Jan;81(1 Pt 1):011603. Epub 2010 Jan 14.

Phase-field study of three-dimensional steady-state growth shapes in directional solidification.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physics and Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Complex Systems, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Abstract

We use a quantitative phase-field approach to study directional solidification in various three-dimensional geometries for realistic parameters of a transparent binary alloy. The geometries are designed to study the steady-state growth of spatially extended hexagonal arrays, linear arrays in thin samples, and axisymmetric shapes constrained in a tube. As a basis to address issues of dynamical pattern selection, the phase-field simulations are specifically geared to identify ranges of primary spacings for the formation of the classically observed "fingers" (deep cells) with blunt tips and "needles" with parabolic tips. Three distinct growth regimes are identified that include a low-velocity regime with only fingers forming, a second intermediate-velocity regime characterized by coexistence of fingers and needles that exist on separate branches of steady-state growth solutions for small and large spacings, respectively, and a third high-velocity regime where those two branches merge into a single one. Along the latter, the growth shape changes continuously from fingerlike to needlelike with increasing spacing. These regimes are strongly influenced by crystalline anisotropy with the third regime extending to lower velocity for larger anisotropy. Remarkably, however, steady-state shapes and tip undercoolings are only weakly dependent on the growth geometry. Those results are used to test existing theories of directional finger growth as well as to interpret the hysteretic nature of the cell-to-dendrite transition.

PMID:
20365380
[PubMed]
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