Statics and Dynamics of Alloy Phase Transformations Opening Remarks

Advanced Studies Institute, Rhodes (Greece), June 21 – July 3, 1992
  • B. L. Györffy
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSB, volume 319)


Although a cliche it is nevertheless true that materials science is one of the pillars of Western Civilization and phase diagrams are one of its central preoccupations1. Most materials properties change smoothly, and therefore reasonably predictably, with external conditions, like pressure or temperature, while matter remains in the same phase but at the phase boundaries they change abruptly and dramatically in a phase transformation. To set the mood of this summer school and illustrate the practical importance of this phenomena by recalling, in Fig. 1, a great metallurgical disaster: the Liberty Ships breaking into two on arriving into the North Sea, which was some 10Ŷ colder than the Gulf of Mexico where they were built. The tragedy was readily traced to a ductile to brittle transformation of the steel, from which the hulls were made, on the lowering of the temperature. Clearly, more modern examples would involve the nuclear power or air-craft industries, to name only two, but the moral would be the same: having the right material for a given application requires among other things a knowledge and understanding of the phase diagram.


Phase Diagram Summer School Free Energy Density Percent Nickel Atomic Percent Nickel 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. L. Györffy
    • 1
  1. 1.H. H. Wills Physics LaboratoryUniversity of BristolBristolUK

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