A general mechanism of polycrystalline growth

Nat Mater. 2004 Sep;3(9):645-50. doi: 10.1038/nmat1190. Epub 2004 Aug 8.


Most research into microstructure formation during solidification has focused on single-crystal growth ranging from faceted crystals to symmetric dendrites. However, these growth forms can be perturbed by heterogeneities, yielding a rich variety of polycrystalline growth patterns. Phase-field simulations show that the presence of particulates (for example, dirt) or a small rotational-translational mobility ratio (characteristic of high supercooling) in crystallizing fluids give rise to similar growth patterns, implying a duality in the growth process in these structurally heterogeneous fluids. Similar crystallization patterns are also found in thin polymer films with particulate additives and pure films with high supercooling. This duality between the static and dynamic heterogeneity explains the ubiquity of polycrystalline growth patterns in polymeric and other complex fluids.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Complex Mixtures / chemistry*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Crystallization / methods*
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Models, Chemical*
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Polymers / chemistry*


  • Complex Mixtures
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Polymers