3 years ago

Phase transformations observed at the interfaces between crystalline grains in pure metals

Phase transformations observed at the interfaces between crystalline grains in pure metals
Eugen Rabkin
Some solid metals exist in various structural forms, a phenomenon known as polymorphism. Iron, for example, adopts one type of cubic lattice (α-iron) at room temperature, but transforms into another (γ-iron) above 912 °C. This is an example of a phase transformation — an abrupt change in the atomic structure of a material that occurs during a gradual change in temperature or pressure. The transformation of γ- to α-iron that occurs when iron alloyed with carbon is rapidly cooled from a high temperature has long been used to produce hard and strong steels; by contrast, pure iron is soft and ductile. Writing in Nature, Meiners et al.1 report that polymorphic phase transformations can also occur at the interfaces between the tiny crystals that make up most pure metals. This discovery suggests a fresh approach for processing metallic materials to optimize their properties for applications.
Open access
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