Role of electronic thermal transport in amorphous metal recrystallization: A molecular dynamics study

ZD McClure and ST Reeve and A Strachan, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 149, 064502 (2018).

DOI: 10.1063/1.5040232

Recrystallization of glasses is important in a wide range of applications including electronics and reactive materials. Molecular dynamics (MD) has been used to provide an atomic picture of this process, but prior work has neglected the thermal transport role of electrons, the dominant thermal carrier in metallic systems. We characterize the role of electronic thermal conductivity on the velocity of recrystallization in Ni using MD coupled to a continuum description of electronic thermal transport via a two-temperature model. Our simulations showthat for strong enough coupling between electrons and ions, the increased thermal conductivity removes the heat from the exothermic recrystallization process more efficiently, leading to a lower effective temperature at the recrystallization front and, consequently, lower propagation velocity. We characterize how electron- phonon coupling strength and system size affect front propagation velocity. Interestingly, we find that initial recrystallization velocity increases with decreasing system size due to higher overall temperatures. Overall, we show that a more accurate description of thermal transport due to the incorporation of electrons results in better agreement with experiments. Published by AIP Publishing.

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