A phase field approach is developed to model wetting and heterogeneous crystal nucleation of an undercooled pure liquid in contact with a sharp wall. We discuss various choices for the boundary condition at the wall and determine the properties of critical nuclei, including their free energy of formation and the contact angle as a function of undercooling. We find for particular choices of boundary conditions, we may realize either an analog of the classical spherical cap model or a decidedly a non-classical behavior, where the contact angle decreases from its value taken at the melting point towards complete wetting at a critical undercooling.
Citation: Physical Review Letters
Pub Type: Journals
heterogeneous nucleation, phase field