Phase-field study of spacing evolution during transient growth
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The primary spacing of a dendritic array grown under transient growth conditions displays a distribution of wavelengths. The average primary spacing is shown, both experimentally and numerically, to evolve between characteristic incubation periods during which the distribution of wavelengths remains essentially stable. Our primary spacing results display a gradual transition period from one spacing range to another, consistent with the fact that the abrupt doubling of spacing predicted by Warren and Langer for an idealized periodic array affects different wavelengths of the distribution at different times. This transition is shown to depend on the rate of change in growth speed using phase-field simulations of directional solidification where the pulling speed is ramped at different rates. In particular, for high rates of change of the pulling speed we observe temporary marginally stable array configurations separated by relatively short lived transitions, while for lower rates of change of the pulling speed the distinction between incubation and transition periods disappears.
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