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A snowflake-like crystal that forms in a mineral or metal alloy during solidification. In an alloy, a dendrite, rich in the higher melting point constituent, will start growing from a central trunk near the exterior of the piece. As the mixture cools, branches extending out like a fir tree grow towards the interior of the piece. The portion of the alloy outside the dendritic crystal solidifies last as it contains a higher proportion of the lower melting point constituent.

Synonyms and Related Terms

dendritic growth; Dendrit (Deut., Sven.); dendrita (Esp.); dendrite (Fr., Port.); dendryt (Pol.); dendriet (Ned.)

Resources and Citations

  • Walter C. McCrone, John Gustave Delly, The Particle Atlas, W. McCrone Associates, Chicago, IV, 1972
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976

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