The dynamics of coarsening in highly anisotropic systems: Si particles in Al-Si liquids

A. J. Shahani*, E. B. Gulsoy, V. J. Roussochatzakis, J. W. Gibbs, J. L. Fife, P. W. Voorhees

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Abstract The coarsening process of an Al-29.9wt%Si alloy is studied using four-dimensional phase contrast X-ray tomography. This alloy is composed of highly anisotropic, primary Si particles in an eutectic matrix. We analyze the morphology of the primary Si particles during coarsening by determining the interface normal distribution and the interface shape distribution. The inverse surface area per unit volume increases with the cube root of time despite the lack of microstructural self-similarity and highly anisotropic particle morphology. More specifically, over the time frame of the experiments, the Si particles evolve from mostly faceted domains to a more isotropic structure that is not given by the Wulff shape of the crystal. These trends can be rationalized by the presence of twin defects that intersect particle edges and that may provide the kink sites necessary for interfacial propagation, thus leading to a more isotropic structure. While in many cases the interfacial velocity of Si solid-liquid interfaces is highly anisotropic, the presence of many defects leads to a highly mobile interface and diffusion-limited coarsening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12249
Pages (from-to)325-337
Number of pages13
JournalActa Materialia
StatePublished - Jul 15 2015


  • 4D characterization
  • Aluminum-Silicon alloys
  • Anisotropic growth morphologies
  • Isothermal coarsening
  • Phase-contrast X-ray tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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