The processes controlling the morphology of dendrites have been of great interest to a wide range of communities, since they are examples of an out-of-equilibrium pattern forming system, there is a clear connection with battery failure processes, and their morphology sets the properties of many metallic alloys. We determine the three-dimensional morphology of free growing metallic dendrites using a novel X-ray tomographic technique that improves the temporal resolution by more than an order of magnitude compared to conventional techniques. These measurements show that the growth morphology of metallic dendrites is surprisingly different from that seen in model systems, the morphology is not self-similar with distance back from the tip, and that this morphology can have an unexpectedly strong influence on solute segregation in castings. These experiments also provide benchmark data that can be used to validate simulations of free dendritic growth.
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