Published in Proceedings of the 1996 NASA Microgravity Materials Science Conference: Huntsville, AL, June 10, 1996, pages 457-462.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author William Durgin was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
Crystals grown from special liquid solutions find important industrial applications. Most often the physics and chemistry of the growth processes are not well understood due to complex microscopic chemical and thermo-fluid phenomena. Microgravity could help elucidate these phenomena and allow the control of defect concentration and crystal size. We are proposing to study zeolites grown in silica solutions as a typical crystal growth system. By using macroscopic fluid dynamics, coupled with first-principle microscopic fluid physics and advanced particle simulations, we will study: (a) the effect of transport phenomena and nutrient flow under microgravity conditions along with (b) the nucleation process and (c) the microscopic crystal growth dynamics. The macroscopic model will account for the bulk fluid-crystal motions. The microscopic model will include multiple nutrient species and growth sites, and microscopic interactions during the nucleation and crystallization processes. The numerical results will be compared with data we obtained from terrestrial and space experiments.