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

University of Rostock, Rostock, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids (Impact Factor: 1.77). 05/2006; 352:434-443. DOI: 10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2006.01.016


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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