Transient Ostwald ripening and the disagreement between steady-state coarsening theory and experiment

V. A. Snyder*, J. Alkemper, P. W. Voorhees

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


The coarsening of solid-Sn particles in a Pb-Sn liquid has been studied under microgravity conditions. These experiments permit an unambiguous comparison between theory and experiment to be made. In contrast to steady-state theories, such as those due to Lifshitz and Slyozov and Wagner, the scaled particle size distributions evolve in samples containing 0.1 and 0.2 volume fractions of solid. Steady state was not reached even though the average particle radius increased by a factor of three during the experiment. In addition, the scaled spatial correlation functions were also found to be time dependent in samples containing 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3 volume fractions of solid. The size distributions and correlation functions for all coarsening times at the fractions ≤0.3 agree with the predictions of a theory for transient coarsening. We show that the microstructures have not reached the steady-state regime for all volume fractions, are thus not self-similar, and that given our initial experimental conditions the time required to reach steady-state coarsening increases with increasing volume fraction. In these experiments, and we suspect in others as well, the transients are sufficiently long that steady-state theories cannot adequately describe the evolution of the microstructure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-709
Number of pages11
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 23 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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