Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 1697–1706 | Cite as

Particle engulfment and pushing by solidifying interfaces: Part II. Microgravity experiments and theoretical analysis

  • D. M. Stefanescu
  • F. R. Juretzko
  • A. Catalina
  • B. K. Dhindaw
  • S. Sen
  • P. A. Curreri


Results of the directional solidification (DS) experiments on particle engulfment and pushing by solidifying interfaces (PEP), conducted on the space shuttle Columbia during the Life and Microgravity Science (LMS) Mission, are reported. Two pure aluminum (99.999 pct) 9 mm cylindrical rods, loaded with about 2 vol pct 500µm-diameter zirconia particles, were melted and resolidified in the microgravity (µg) environment of the shuttle. One sample was processed at a stepwise increased solidification velocity and the other at a stepwise decreased velocity. It was found that a pushing/engulfment transition (PET) occurred in the velocity range of 0.5 to 1 µm/s. This is smaller than the ground PET velocity of 1.9 to 2.4 µm/s. This demonstrates that natural convection increases the critical velocity. A previously proposed analytical model for PEP was further developed. A major effort to identify and produce data for the surface energy of various interfaces required for calculation was undertaken. The predicted critical velocity for PET was 0.775 µm/s.


Material Transaction Natural Convection Repulsive Force Critical Velocity Zirconia Particle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Symbols


coefficient (0 for no contact and 1 for perfect contact)


atomic diameter


Hammaker constant


constant defining the disjoining pressure (CTM model)


equilibrium distance


critical distance


liquid diffusivity


van der Waals energy


gravity force


drag force


life force


van der Waals force


interaction force between the particle and the SL interface


temperature gradient in the liquid (CTM model)


latent heat of fusion


heat of sublimation


Boltzman’s constant


material constant


ratio between the thermal conductivity of the particle (K P) and of the liquid (K L)


exponent between 2 and 7 (UCJ and SAS models)


particle radius


entropy of fusion






critical velocity


fluid velocity at the SL interface parallel to the interface


solidification velocity


work of adhesion


surface energy


liquid viscosity


contact angle


surface tension


surface tension difference


surface energy difference


atomic volume

Ω (∞)

function with value of 0.34



liquid (matrix)




solid (matrix)


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Copyright information

© ASM International & TMS-The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. M. Stefanescu
    • 1
  • F. R. Juretzko
    • 1
  • A. Catalina
    • 1
  • B. K. Dhindaw
    • 2
  • S. Sen
    • 3
  • P. A. Curreri
    • 3
  1. 1.The University of AlabamaTuscaloosa
  2. 2.IIT KharagpurIndia
  3. 3.the NASA Marshall Space Flight CenterHuntsville

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