Roundness of grains in cellular microstructures

F. H. Lutz, J. K. Mason, E. A. Lazar, R. D. Macpherson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many physical systems are composed of polyhedral cells of varying sizes and shapes. These structures are simple in the sense that no more than three faces meet at an edge and no more than four edges meet at a vertex. This means that individual cells can usually be considered as simple, three-dimensional polyhedra. This paper is concerned with determining the distribution of combinatorial types of such polyhedral cells. We introduce the terms fundamental and vertex-truncated types and apply these concepts to the grain growth microstructure as a testing ground. For these microstructures, we demonstrate that most grains are of particular fundamental types, whereas the frequency of vertex-truncated types decreases exponentially with the number of truncations. This can be explained by the evolutionary process through which grain growth structures are formed and in which energetically unfavorable surfaces are quickly eliminated. Furthermore, we observe that these grain types are "round" in a combinatorial sense: there are no "short" separating cycles that partition the polyhedra into two parts of similar sizes. A particular microstructure derived from the Poisson-Voronoi initial condition is identified as containing an unusually large proportion of round grains. This microstructure has an average of 14.036 faces per grain and is conjectured to be more resistant to topological change than the steady-state grain growth microstructure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number023001
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


Dive into the research topics of 'Roundness of grains in cellular microstructures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this