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Influence of Convection on Phase Selection

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Metallurgy in Space

Part of the book series: The Minerals, Metals & Materials Series ((MMMS))

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Space electromagnetic levitation processing allows investigations on the influence of convection on phase selection by leveraging the ability to process reactive molten metal alloys in a containerless fashion while selecting a broad range of flow conditions during rapid solidification. The ferrite-austenite transformation in FeCrNi stainless steel alloys involves an incubation delay between nucleation events, and this delay is seen to depend on both primary undercooling and melt shear. Quantification of the delay during double recalescence is successfully predicted using the Retained Damage Model. Dimensionless parameters describing the relationship between delay time, undercooling, and melt convection indicate that there is good agreement between theory and experimental results conducted using ground-based electrostatic and electromagnetic levitation and microgravity experiments using the ISS-EML facility.

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ao   (m):

Lattice constant

C    (- -):

Fractional solute concentration (for bcc steel, this is Ni)

fB    (- -):

Attachment success fraction

fx   (- -):

Fraction of free energy retained

ΔGc  (J/m3):

Retained free energy from convection

ΔGm  (J/m3):

Retained free energy from undercooling

ΔGR (J/m3):

Reference free energy

ΔGs  (J/m3):

Reference free energy relative to stable phase

ΔGT (J/m3):

Total free energy

ΔH   (J/mol):

Enthalpy of fusion

kB   (J/at∙K):

Boltzmann constant

n   (at):

Number of atoms in a cluster

NA   (at/mol):

Avogadro’s number

NM   (- -):

Dimensionless driving force ratio

Nτ   (- -):

Dimensionless delay time ratio

T   (K):

Undercooled melt temperature

Tm   (K):

Metastable phase liquidus

Ts    (K):

Stable phase liquidus

ΔT   (K):

Experimentally observed undercooling

β   (at/s):

Cluster atomic attachment rate

Δb   (J∙s/m2):

Empirical intercept constant relating shear and damage

Δm   (J∙s/m2):

Empirical slope constant relating shear and damage

\( \dot{\gamma} \)   (s−1):

Shear rate

τ   (s):

Calculated incubation delay

τR    (s):

Reference incubation delay

τEXP (s):

Experimentally observed incubation delay

θ   (radian):

Heterogeneous nucleation wetting angle

θ   (radian):

Read-Shockley tilt grain boundary angle

κ   (- -):

Microstructural reversibility constant

Ω   (m3/mol):

Atomic volume


Metastable phase


Stable phase


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This chapter represents work that was accomplished as part of an international collaboration between NASA, DLR, and ESA using the ISS-EML facility. The author wishes to acknowledge the contributions of the DLR Microgravity User Support Center (MUSC) for technical assistance running the space experiments and the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center ESL lab for running ground-based investigations. Funding for the work was provided under NASA grant 80NSSC19K0256.

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Correspondence to Douglas M. Matson .

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Matson, D.M. (2022). Influence of Convection on Phase Selection. In: Fecht, HJ., Mohr, M. (eds) Metallurgy in Space . The Minerals, Metals & Materials Series. Springer, Cham.

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