Ostwald ripening of faceted Si particles in an Al-Si-Cu melt

A. J. Shahani*, X. Xiao, K. Skinner, M. Peters, P. W. Voorhees

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The microstructural evolution of an Al-Si-Cu alloy during Ostwald ripening is imaged via synchrotron-based, four-dimensional (i.e., space and time resolved) X-ray tomography. Samples of composition Al-32 wt%Si-15 wt%Cu were annealed isothermally at 650 °C, in the two-phase solid-liquid regime, while tomographic projections were collected in situ over the course of five hours. Advances in experimental methods and computational approaches enable us to characterize the local interfacial curvatures and velocities during ripening. The sequence of three-dimensional reconstructions and interfacial shape distributions shows highly faceted Si particles in a copper-enriched liquid, that become increasingly isotropic or rounded over time. In addition, we find that the coarsening rate constant is approximately the same in the binary and ternary systems. By coupling these experimental measurements with CALPHAD modeling and ab initio molecular dynamics simulation, we assess the influence of Cu on the coarsening process. Finally, we find the unusual “pinning” of microstructure at the junction between rough and smooth interfaces and suggest a mechanism for this behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-320
Number of pages14
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering A
StatePublished - Sep 15 2016


  • 4D materials science
  • Aluminum-silicon-copper alloys
  • Facets
  • Ostwald ripening
  • Synchrotron-based X-ray tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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