Phase transformations
There are so many phase changes in iron and its alloys that it is possible to generate a seemingly infinite variety of microstructures and properties. This complexity makes the alloys versatile but at the same time difficult to understand and design from first principles. Much of my energy is devoted to the development of solidstate phase transformation theory, and its experimental validation, in the hope of inventing new alloys and processes.
Theory of transformationsWe deal mostly with phase changes which are thermodynamically of first order, i.e. they involve nucleation and growth with welldefined mechanisms of transformations and particular constraints to the achievement of equilibrium. In fact, most useful microstructures are far from equilibrium so we build kinetic theory to determine nonequilibrium states. There are complications when many different transformations occur together, complications which have stimulated new theory. Finally, the microstructure must be related to properties which are appreciated by technologists.
Mathematical modelsThe theory and empirical observations are expressed in the form of computer models that can be used to greatly reduce the vast number of parameters that have to be controlled during the creation of new alloys and processes. We also produce courses, books and algorithms in addition to research papers to help spread the word about this thriving science of materials.
