Stress development and relaxation during crystal growth in glass-forming liquids

Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids (Impact Factor: 1.72). 01/2006; 352:434-443. DOI: 10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2006.01.016

ABSTRACT We analyze the effect of elastic stresses on the thermodynamic driving force and the rate of crystal growth in glass-forming liquids. In line with one of the basic assumptions of the classical theory of nucleation and growth processes it is assumed that the composition of the clusters does not depend significantly on their sizes. Moreover, stresses we assume to be caused by misfit effects due to differences in the specific volume of the liquid and crystalline phases, respectively. Both stress evolution (due to crystallization) and stress relaxation (due to the viscous properties of the glass-forming liquids) are incorporated into the theoretical description. The developed method is generally applicable independently of the particular expressions employed to describe the crystal growth rate and the rate of stress relaxation. We show that for temperatures lower than a certain decoupling temperature, Td, elastic stresses may considerably diminish the thermodynamic driving force and the rate of crystal growth. The decoupling temperature, Td, corresponds to the lower limit of temperatures above which diffusion and relaxation are governed by the same mechanisms and the Stokes–Einstein (or Eyring) equation is fulfilled. Below Td, the magnitude of the effect of elastic stresses on crystal growth increases with decreasing temperature and reaches values that are typical for Hookean elastic bodies (determined by the elastic constants and the density differences of both states of the system) at temperatures near or below the glass-transition temperature, Tg. By these reasons, the effect of elastic stress must be properly accounted for in a correct theoretical description of crystal nucleation (as some of us have shown in previous papers) and subsequent crystal growth in undercooled liquids. The respective general method is developed in the present paper and applied, as a first example, to crystal growth in lithium disilicate glass-forming melt.

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    ABSTRACT: We collect and critically analyze extensive literature data, including our own, on three important kinetic processes--viscous flow, crystal nucleation, and growth--in lithium disilicate (Li(2)O·2SiO(2)) over a wide temperature range, from above T(m) to 0.98T(g) where T(g) ≈ 727 K is the calorimetric glass transition temperature and T(m) = 1307 K, which is the melting point. We found that crystal growth mediated by screw dislocations is the most likely growth mechanism in this system. We then calculated the diffusion coefficients controlling crystal growth, D(eff)(U), and completed the analyses by looking at the ionic diffusion coefficients of Li(+1), O(2-), and Si(4+) estimated from experiments and molecular dynamic simulations. These values were then employed to estimate the effective volume diffusion coefficients, D(eff)(V), resulting from their combination within a hypothetical Li(2)Si(2)O(5) "molecule". The similarity of the temperature dependencies of 1/η, where η is shear viscosity, and D(eff)(V) corroborates the validity of the Stokes-Einstein/Eyring equation (SEE) at high temperatures around T(m). Using the equality of D(eff)(V) and D(eff)(η), we estimated the jump distance λ ~ 2.70 Å from the SEE equation and showed that the values of D(eff)(U) have the same temperature dependence but exceed D(eff)(η) by about eightfold. The difference between D(eff)(η) and D(eff)(U) indicates that the former determines the process of mass transport in the bulk whereas the latter relates to the mobility of the structural units on the crystal/liquid interface. We then employed the values of η(T) reduced by eightfold to calculate the growth rates U(T). The resultant U(T) curve is consistent with experimental data until the temperature decreases to a decoupling temperature T(d)(U) ≈ 1.1-1.2T(g), when D(eff)(η) begins decrease with decreasing temperature faster than D(eff)(U). A similar decoupling occurs between D(eff)(η) and D(eff)(τ) (estimated from nucleation time-lags) but at a lower temperatureT(d)(τ) ≈ T(g). For T > T(g) the values of D(eff)(τ) exceed D(eff)(η) only by twofold. The different behaviors of D(eff)(τ)(T) and D(eff)(U)(T) are likely caused by differences in the mechanisms of critical nuclei formation. Therefore, we have shown that at low undercoolings, viscosity data can be employed for quantitative analyses of crystal growth rates, but in the deeply supercooled liquid state, mass transport for crystal nucleation and growth are not controlled by viscosity. The origin of decoupling is assigned to spatially dynamic heterogeneity in glass-forming melts.
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