Solidification at the high and low rate extreme

Meco, Halim
Major Professor
Ralp E. Napolitano
Committee Member
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Materials Science and Engineering

The microstructure selection at both high and low growth rates is studied. For the high rate extreme, melt spinning of a Fe-Si-B alloy is employed. The microstructural variations with changing wheel speed and factors affecting these variations are examined through various characterization techniques. Particular attention was given for the influence of melt pool behavior on the competition between nucleation of crystalline solidification products and glass formation. It is found that there exists a window of wheel speeds which give rise to a stable melt-pool and production of amorphous ribbons. The surface-controlled melt-pool oscillation is found as the dominant factor governing the onset of unsteady thermal conditions accompanied by varying amounts of crystalline nucleation observed near the lower wheel speed limit. For the upper wheel speed limit, a criterion based on mass-balance and momentum transfer is developed for predicting the window of wheel speeds for obtaining uniform and fully amorphous ribbons. For the low rate extreme, solidification and morphological selection of the faceted silicon phase is investigated in a near eutectic Al-Si system by utilizing a Bridgman type directional solidification unit. Particularly, the role of certain defect mechanisms namely, twinning, in the selection of microstructure and growth crystallography is investigated. At the imposed growth rates of 0.5 and 1 micron/s and temperature gradient of 7.5 K/mm, a unique silicon morphology consisting of 8-pointed stars is observed to grow with <001> texture within continuous domains across the sample. The growth crystallography of this unique silicon structure is characterized and it is found that substantial amount of 210 type twinning exists within the central core of this star-shaped morphology. It is found that the twinning phenomenon at the core is an essential feature for branching, morphological selection and adjustment of spacing between the star-like silicon features. These mechanisms and the associated growth characteristics are examined in detail.