The coarsening of solid-Sn particles in a Pb-Sn liquid was studied under microgravity conditions. Spatial correlation functions were measured on plane sections in a low-volume fraction system undergoing Ostwald ripening. The correlation functions changed with time in a way that indicated that the microstructure initially consisted of clusters of particles and evolved into one which was more dispersed. The model by Akaiwa and Voorhees (AV) was used to study the effect of spatial correlations on the ripening process. We found that the initially highly correlated structure had no observable effect on the evolution of particle size distributions, but did have an effect on the coarsening rate of the system. Specifically, we determined that a structure consisting of clusters of particles coarsened faster than a system with a random, spatial arrangement of non-overlapping particles. We also found that the approach of the microstructure towards the steady-state regime could be monitored more sensitively using spatial correlations rather than using particle size distributions. The spatial correlations and the particle size distributions measured from the experiment agreed well with those calculated from the AV simulations using the initial experimental correlations and size distribution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Polymers and Plastics
- Metals and Alloys