On the unstable propagation of a phase transition in a solid

Muneo Hori, Toshihiro Kameda, Kenji Oguni

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1 Citation (Scopus)


To explore a possible mechanism of deep earthquakes, this paper analyzes the unstable propagation of a stress-induced phase transition which is initiated in a homogeneous stress field. This Stephen problem is formulated as an initial-value problem for the phase boundary, and the driving force of the boundary is computed by using the solution of the boundary-value problem for a partially transformed material. The propagation of the phase transition under uniform pressure is numerically simulated. It is shown that (1) under lower pressure, the transition is terminated at a certain size, but it can propagate unstably when an initially transformed region is sufficiently large; and (2) when the pressure attains a critical value, the propagation becomes unstable, and goes in a particular direction depending on the initial shape. These results confirm the possibility of the unstable propagation of phase transition, and provide a theoretical basis for the hypothesis that the phase transition of a mantle material can trigger a deep earthquake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-323
Number of pages11
JournalMechanics of Materials
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1995 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • Phase transition
  • Stephen problem
  • Thermodynamics
  • Unstable propagation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • Mechanics of Materials


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