Pinch-off of rods by bulk diffusion

L. K. Aagesen, A. E. Johnson, J. L. Fife, P. W. Voorhees, M. J. Miksis, S. O. Poulsen, E. M. Lauridsen, F. Marone, M. Stampanoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The morphology of a rod embedded in a matrix undergoing pinching by interfacial-energy-driven bulk diffusion is determined near the point of pinching. We find a self-similar solution that gives a unique temporal power law and interfacial shape prior to pinching and self-similar solutions after pinching. The theory is compared to experiments that employ in situ four-dimensional X-ray tomographic microscopy for rods of liquid or solid pinching by solute diffusion in the high-diffusivity liquid phase. The excellent agreement between experiment and theory confirms that the interfacial morphology near the singularity is universal both before and after pinching; the shape holds regardless of the material system and initial condition. This also implies that the predictions of the time-dependence of the process can be used to determine the time to pinching for a wide variety of physical systems, and thus provide estimates of the time required for capillarity-driven break-up of microstructures from the detachment of secondary dendrite arms to polymer blends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4922-4932
Number of pages11
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Bulk diffusion
  • Capillary phenomena
  • Coarsening
  • Self-organization and patterning
  • X-ray and neutron techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys

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