The theory of heterogeneous nucleation was initially developed as a part of condensed matter physics, and later it was used as an important engineering tool to design metallurgical processes. This success has led to wide applications of the theory in metallurgical practice. For example, engineering heterogeneous nucleation in ductile iron has been used to reduce shrinkage defects, suppress cementite formation, and modify the size and shape of microstructural constituencies. This demonstrates how theoretical knowledge could benefit industry practice. This overview aims to summarize the authors' published studies in co-authorship with colleagues and students, which covers different aspects of engineering heterogeneous nucleation in multiphase cast alloys. Several approaches for engineering heterogeneous nucleation using thermodynamic simulation as well as practical methods for improving efficiency of nucleation using the co-precipitation technique and a local transient melt supersaturation are suggested. Automated scanning electron microscopy/energy-dispersive X-ray (SEM/EDX) analysis and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) were used to verify the simulation predictions. Practical examples of controlling microporosity shrinkage in cast irons with spheroidal graphite are presented to illustrate the power of engineering heterogenous nucleation.


Materials Science and Engineering

Publication Status

Open Access


American Foundry Society, Grant None

Keywords and Phrases

alloys with primary crystalline phase; cast alloys; cast iron with spheroidal graphite; heterogeneous nucleation; solidification; structure modification

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2023 The Authors, All rights reserved.

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Publication Date

01 Jul 2023

Included in

Metallurgy Commons