Stationary partitioning in certain grain boundary problems

Research Horizons Seminar
Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - 12:00
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 006
School of Mathematics, Georgia Institute of Technology

Food and Drinks will be provided before the seminar.

Abstract:  Certain materials form geometric structures called "grains," which means that one has distinct volumes filled with the same semi-solid material but not mixing.  This can happen with semi-molten copper and something like this can also happen with liquid crystals (which are used in some calculator display screens).  People who try to analyze such systems tend to be interested in the motion of the boundaries between grains (which are often modeled by mean curvature flow) and the motions of the exterior surfaces of grains (which are often modeled by surface diffusion flow).  Surfaces of constant mean curvature are stationary for both flows and provide stationary or equilibrium configurations.  The surfaces of constant mean curvature which are axially symmetric have been classified.  Grain boundaries are not usually axially symmetric, but I will describe a model situation in which they are and one can study the resulting equilibria.  I will give a very informal introduction to the flow problems mentioned above (about which I know very little) and then go over the classification of axially symmetric constant mean curvature surfaces (about which I know rather more) and some reasonable questions one can ask (and hopefully answer) about such problems.