Migration of inclusions in a matrix due to a spatially varying interface energy

Qian Zhang*, Scott Barnett, Peter Voorhees

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An interfacial energy can be a function of a bulk field such as temperature or electric field. We find that in a system with a gradient in temperature or electric potential, the resulting variation in interfacial energy can induce a particle to migrate by either surface or bulk diffusion. For a circular particle under a constant unidirectional gradient in the bulk field, the field dependence of the interfacial energy induces a circular particle to move as a circle at a constant velocity along the direction from higher to lower interfacial energy. A linear stability analysis of this steady state migration suggests that perturbations will damp out as time evolves, and thus under these conditions a migrating circular particle is morphologically stable. Other spatial distributions of interface energy can lead to the distortion of an initially circular shaped particle during migration. A phase field model is developed that captures these distortions and verifies the theoretical results mentioned above.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114235
JournalScripta Materialia
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Bulk diffusion
  • Interface diffusion
  • Interface energy depends on a field varying with location
  • Particle migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys


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