Double diffusivity model under stochastic forcing

Amit K. Chattopadhyay, Elias C. Aifantis

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    The "double diffusivity" model was proposed in the late 1970s, and reworked in the early 1980s, as a continuum counterpart to existing discrete models of diffusion corresponding to high diffusivity paths, such as grain boundaries and dislocation lines. It was later rejuvenated in the 1990s to interpret experimental results on diffusion in polycrystalline and nanocrystalline specimens where grain boundaries and triple grain boundary junctions act as high diffusivity paths. Technically, the model pans out as a system of coupled Fick-type diffusion equations to represent "regular" and "high" diffusivity paths with "source terms" accounting for the mass exchange between the two paths. The model remit was extended by analogy to describe flow in porous media with double porosity, as well as to model heat conduction in media with two nonequilibrium local temperature baths, e.g., ion and electron baths. Uncoupling of the two partial differential equations leads to a higher-ordered diffusion equation, solutions of which could be obtained in terms of classical diffusion equation solutions. Similar equations could also be derived within an "internal length" gradient (ILG) mechanics formulation applied to diffusion problems, i.e., by introducing nonlocal effects, together with inertia and viscosity, in a mechanics based formulation of diffusion theory. While being remarkably successful in studies related to various aspects of transport in inhomogeneous media with deterministic microstructures and nanostructures, its implications in the presence of stochasticity have not yet been considered. This issue becomes particularly important in the case of diffusion in nanopolycrystals whose deterministic ILG-based theoretical calculations predict a relaxation time that is only about one-tenth of the actual experimentally verified time scale. This article provides the "missing link" in this estimation by adding a vital element in the ILG structure, that of stochasticity, that takes into account all boundary layer fluctuations. Our stochastic-ILG diffusion calculation confirms rapprochement between theory and experiment, thereby benchmarking a new generation of gradient-based continuum models that conform closer to real-life fluctuating environments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number052134
    Number of pages10
    JournalPhysical Review E
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2017

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright (2017) Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America. The following article appeared in Chattopadhyay, A. K., & Aifantis, E. C. (2017). The double diffusivity model under stochastic forcing. Physical Review E, 95(5), 1-10. [052134] and may be found at


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