Nucleation Catalysis



Melting and solidification are reciprocal examples of first-order phase transformations, i.e., transformations exhibiting discontinuities in the first-order thermodynamic properties of the ‘parent’ and ‘daughter’ phases, such as the volume, entropy, and enthalpy. First-order phase changes can resist initiation—even from a highly supercooled or supersaturated metastable parent phase—as energetic barriers develop that inhibit the formation of viable embryos of the daughter phase, which once formed, can grow spontaneously. Stable nuclei require ordering of numerous atoms or molecules, composition change, creation of large interfacial area per unit volume, and elastic straining, all of which require the accumulation of ‘excess’ free energy. The additional free energy needed to accomplish nucleation is provided by thermodynamic fluctuations that momentarily allow a miniscule region of the metastable parent phase to depart significantly from its average order, composition, and free energy.


Contact Angle Free Energy Change Master Alloy Homogeneous Nucleation Critical Radius 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Materials Science and Engineering DepartmentUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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