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Grain boundary grooving

Zhigang Suo's picture

A polished polycrystal has a flat surface. At room temperature, the surface remains flat for a long time. At an elevated temperature atoms move. The surface grows grooves along triple junctions, where the surface meet grain boundaries. The grooves reveal the grain boundaries in the microscope. Atoms may move in many ways. They may diffuse in the lattice, diffuse on the surface, or evaporate into the vapor phase. Here we will only consider surface diffusion. Atoms diffuse on the surface away from the triple junction, making a dent along the junction, and piling two bumps nearby. The process conserves the total mass. The process of grooving was modeled by Mullins (1957).

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