Molecular Dynamics Simulations on Effect of Surface Roughness of Amorphous Substrate on Nucleation in Liquid Al

H Men and ZY Fan, METALS, 12, 1529 (2022).

DOI: 10.3390/met12091529

In this study, we used molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to investigate the atomic ordering in the liquid aluminum (Al) adjacent to the amorphous substrate with smooth and rough surfaces. This study revealed that the liquid exhibited layering within about 5 atomic layers but no visible in-plane atomic ordering at the interface with the smooth amorphous surface, and neither layering nor in-plane atomic ordering with the rough surface of the amorphous substrate. However, the smooth amorphous surface induced some local ordered structure in the liquid at the interface by a structural templating mechanism, which promoted heterogeneous nucleation by creating a 2-dimensional (2D) nucleus in the third layer. The amorphous substrate with a rough surface had no effect on the nucleation in the liquid, leading to the occurrence of homogeneous nucleation with an undercooling 100 K larger than that of heterogeneous nucleation on the smooth amorphous substrate. This study confirmed that structural templating is a general mechanism for heterogeneous nucleation.

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