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Solutal gradients in strained equilibrium
We demonstrate that the distortion of a crystal, caused by secondary phase precipitates, can stabilize a solutal gradient around the precipitate. The gradient persists in the quasi-static state stabilized by the gradient of the elastic energy around the precipitate. The peak concentration at the interface between precipitate and matrix hereby is independent of the radius of the precipitate and no mechanism of ripening is active in an arrangement of precipitates of different size. The model offers an explanation of experimental observations of the anomalous stability of nano-precipitates in Al–Cu.