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Acta Materialia


The moment of inertia tensor is a quantity that characterizes the morphology of aggregates of particles. The deviatoric components indicate the anisotropy of the aggregate, and its compactness is described by the isotropic component, i.e. the second moment of inertia, which is related to the radius of gyration. The equation of motion of the moment of inertia tensor is proposed for the sintering and coalescence of crystalline particles by bulk diffusion and surface diffusion. Simulations of the evolution of aggregates of particles (linear chains, rings and branched chains) show that the aggregates become more compact and more isotropic structures, driven by the surface energy tensor or the surface force density. The tensor virial equation for diffusion is applicable also to evolution of pores, precipitates and inclusions embedded in a surrounding matrix.