2004 Volume 44 Issue 3 Pages 565-572
A new experimental technique defined as concentric solidification has been developed to improve in-situ observations of solidification and high temperature phase transformations using laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM). The technique consists of applying a radial thermal gradient across a 10 mm diameter sample such that the maximum temperature is focused in the centre of the specimen. Careful control over the sample thickness, heating rate and peak temperature results in the formation of a liquid pool in the centre of the specimen. Surface tension balance between solid, liquid, gas and crucible result in minimal meniscus formation on the liquid pool, leading to a greatly enhanced in-situ observations. Examples of the range of observations possible as well as unique observations of segregation related phenomena are presented.