The behaviour of a solidification front in a suspension of particles is of major interest for its implication in a very large number of theoretical and practical issues. If the physical mechanisms controlling the interactions are relatively well understood for single large particles, the solidification behavior of colloidal suspensions is a matter of great interest, but highly challenging. Conclusions derived from single large particles experiments cannot be extrapolated to smaller particles (submicronic) where Brownian motion is dominating and segregation effects are negligible. The analysis is further complicated by the necessity to take into account the various interactions between particles, which could be of different natures: electrostatic, Van der Waals, steric, etc. Additional deviations from the ideal situation such as the distribution of particle size, their surface state, charge, and roughness, could have a major influence over the general behavior and stability of the system but are difficult to take into account.
My approach was based on the observations, mostly using finely controlled and characterized suspensions. We recently joined the happy world of modeling, with very simple approaches to begin with.
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