Formation of a metastable phase due to the presence of impurities

Richard P Sear
2005 Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter  
Phase transitions into a new phase that is itself metastable are common; instead of the equilibrium phase nucleating a metastable phase does so. When this occurs the system is sometimes said to be obeying Ostwald's rule. We show how this can happen when there are impurities present that reduce the barrier to heterogeneous nucleation of the metastable phase. We do so by studying a Potts lattice model using Monte Carlo simulation. Thus, which phase forms depends not only on the properties of the
more » ... ifferent phases but also on the impurities present. Understanding why systems obey Ostwald's rule may therefore require a study of the impurities present.
doi:10.1088/0953-8984/17/25/025 pmid:21690714 fatcat:h2gyjwjlozbvljgosbg6ycgoxa