The mechanism of decay of the superheated metastable metal produced by a thin foil explosion was investigated experimentally. The decay of the metastable metal was indicated by the occurrence of bubbles detected using soft x-ray backlighting. The experiments were carried out on a research facility comprising three current generators. One of them was used to initiate the explosion of a test foil, and the other two, X-pinch backlighting sources, were used for diagnostics. In the experiments, an upper limit has been determined for the decay time of the metastable state of a superheated metal. For aluminum, at a foil thickness of 6 μm and a deposited energy of 1.49 ± 0.08 eV/atom, the metastable state decay time was about 90 ns; for copper, at the same foil thickness and a deposited energy of 1.46 ± 0.07 eV/atom, it was about 250 ns. Analysis of the experimental results based on the classical nucleation theory has made it possible to estimate the work required for the formation of a critical bubble, the radius of the critical bubble, and the Tolman length, which characterizes the effect of the surface curvature on the surface tension. The work required for the formation of a critical bubble has been estimated to be 16.6 ± 1.5 eV for aluminum and 18.3 ± 1.2 eV for copper. The critical bubble radius and the Tolman length turned out to be several nanometers for both test metals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics