A phase-field model for diffusion-induced grain-boundary motion

J. W. Cahn, P. Fife, O. Penrose

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127 Citations (Scopus)


We model diffusion-induced grain boundary motion (DIGM) with a pair of differential equations: t ??/?t = -? + d2?2? - e ?p(?, u)/?? if -1 < ? < 1, else ??/?t = 0 ?u/?t = ?·[D(?)?v], where v = u + e ?p(?, u)/?u. Here u represents the concentration of solute atoms, ? takes the values +1 and -1 in the two perfect crystal grains and intermediate values in the boundary between them, t, d and e are constants characterizing the material, p(?, u) is an interaction energy density, and the diffusivity D(?) is large in the grain boundary (-1 < ? < 1) but zero in the grains (? = ±1). The model is thermodynamically consistent, being derivable from a free energy functional. The aim of the work is to understand what interactions p(?, u) can or cannot account for the observed results. For small e the speed of travelling wave solutions can be calculated approximately using a successive approximations scheme. The results indicate that the simple interaction, p(?, u) = u(1 - ?2), corresponding to differing solubility in the grain boundary and in the bulk crystal, cannot explain all the observed data. An interaction modelling the elastic coherency strain energy is also considered, and its consequences are consistent with the observed features of DIGM in nearly all cases. © 1997 Acta Metallurgica Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4397-4413
Number of pages17
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1997


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