Using electric current to surpass the microstructure breakup limit

Qin, Rongshan (2017). Using electric current to surpass the microstructure breakup limit. Scientific Reports, 7, article no. 41451.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/srep41451

Abstract

The elongated droplets and grains can break up into smaller ones. This process is driven by the interfacial free energy minimization, which gives rise to a breakup limit. We demonstrated in this work that the breakup limit can be overpassed drastically by using electric current to interfere. Electric current free energy is dependent on the microstructure configuration. The breakup causes the electric current free energy to reduce in some cases. This compensates the increment of interfacial free energy during breaking up and enables the processing to achieve finer microstructure. With engineering practical electric current parameters, our calculation revealed a significant increment of the obtainable number of particles, showing electric current a powerful microstructure refinement technology. The calculation is validated by our experiments on the breakup of Fe3C-plates in Fe matrix. Furthermore, there is a parameter range that electric current can drive spherical particles to split into smaller ones.

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