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A phase field model for snow crystal growth in three dimensions

Abstract : Snowflake growth provides a fascinating example of spontaneous pattern formation in nature. Attempts to understand this phenomenon have led to important insights in non-equilibrium dynamics observed in various active scientific fields, ranging from pattern formation in physical and chemical systems, to self-assembly problems in biology. Yet, very few models currently succeed in reproducing the diversity of snowflake forms in three dimensions, and the link between model parameters and thermodynamic quantities is not established. Here, we report a modified phase field model that describes the subtlety of the ice vapour phase transition, through anisotropic water molecules attachment and condensation, surface diffusion, and strong anisotropic surface tension, that guarantee the anisotropy, faceting and dendritic growth of snowflakes. We demonstrate that this model reproduces the growth dynamics of the most challenging morphologies of snowflakes from the Nakaya diagram. We find that the growth dynamics of snow crystals matches the selection theory, consistently with previous experimental observations.
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https://hal-normandie-univ.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01861344
Contributor : Marc Brunel <>
Submitted on : Friday, August 24, 2018 - 1:30:38 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 11:46:13 AM

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Gilles Demange, Helena Zapolsky, Renaud Patte, Marc Brunel. A phase field model for snow crystal growth in three dimensions. npj Computational Materials, Springer Nature, 2017, 3 (1), ⟨10.1038/s41524-017-0015-1⟩. ⟨hal-01861344⟩

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