• Phase transformations—a physicist’s perception

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    • Keywords

       

      Phase transformations; phase diagrams; spinodal decomposition; ordering kinetics

    • Abstract

       

      Echoing a recent remark by Prof. Ramaseshan, a perspective review is made of the field of phase transformation, highlighting areas that might appeal to physicists. Prominent in this category are the study of ground state structures, the study of phase diagrams and the study of kinetic phenomena.

      Enumeration of ground state structures calls for inputs from group theory as well as reliable potentials, and physicists are therefore well equipped to make significant contributions. The theoretical analysis of phase diagrams (concerning which much experimental information already exists) raises challenging questions in equilibrium statistical mechanics. Since the problems map to Ising models of varying complexity and their generalizations, there are also very interesting connections to magnetism. Lately, computer simulation has added a new dimension, opening up fresh vistas both for theory and experiments. The study of kinetics belongs to the newly emerging area of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics. The focus being ontemporal phenomena, physicists can play a key role, particularly through the application of various types of relaxation spectroscopy. On the theoretical side too there are challenging problems, especially on account of the dominance of nonlinearities. Indeed if one is bold enough, one could even speculate on possible universalities underlying the complex microstructures invariably seen in late-stage evolution. In short, though the subject of phase transformations has thus far been nursed predominantly by metallurgists, there is enough room for physicists to make an independent entry and to make distinctive contributions.

    • Author Affiliations

       

      G Venkataraman1

      1. Reactor Research Centre, Kalpakkam - 603 102, India
    • Dates

       
  • Bulletin of Materials Science | News

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