We use Brownian dynamics simulations in combination with the umbrella sampling technique to study the effect of shear flow on homogeneous crystal nucleation. We find that a homogeneous shear rate leads to a significant suppression of the crystal nucleation rate and to an increase of the size of the critical nucleus. A simple, phenomenological extension of classical nucleation theory accounts for these observations. The orientation of the crystal nucleus is tilted with respect to the shear direction.

Phys. Rev. Lett.

Blaak, R., Auer, S. A., Frenkel, D., & Löwen, H. (2004). Crystal nucleation of colloidal suspensions under shear. Phys.Rev.Lett., 93(Article number: 68303), 1–4. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.93.068303