The research of Valery Levitas, Schafer 2050 Challenge Professor and faculty member in both aerospace and mechanical engineering, and PhD student Kamran Samani gained global attention when it was published in Nature Communications (2011, Vol. 2, 284), a journal specializing in significant advances in physical, chemical, and biological fields.
Over the past two years, the team developed an advanced phase-field theory of melting coupled with mechanics. When Levitas and Samani took mechanics into account, they found qualitative contradictions in description of size-dependence of the melting temperature and temperature-dependence of the thickness of molten layer. Their findings resolved those and other contradictions previous theories created about interface tension and surface-induced melting.
Their results have general characteristics that can be used for exploring material behavior from metastability to complete instability, as well as intermediate states.
They are currently working to expand their findings.
Their complete research in Nature Communications can be found here.