High pressure phase transformations revisited
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High pressure phase transformations play an important role in the search for new materials and material synthesis, as well as in geophysics. However, they are poorly characterized, and phase transformation pressure and pressure hysteresis vary drastically in experiments of different researchers, with different pressure transmitting media, and with different material suppliers. Here we review the current state, challenges in studying phase transformations under high pressure, and the possible ways in overcoming the challenges. This field is critically compared with fields of phase transformations under normal pressure in steels and shape memory alloys, as well as plastic deformation of materials. The main reason for the above mentioned discrepancy is the lack of understanding that there is a fundamental difference between pressure-induced transformations under hydrostatic conditions, stress-induced transformations under nonhydrostatic conditions below yield, and strain-induced transformations during plastic flow. Each of these types of transformations has different mechanisms and requires a completely different thermodynamic and kinetic description and experimental characterization. In comparison with other fields the following challenges are indicated for high pressure phase transformation: (a) initial and evolving microstructure is not included in characterization of transformations; (b) continuum theory is poorly developed; (c) heterogeneous stress and strain fields in experiments are not determined, which leads to confusing material transformational properties with a system behavior. Some ways to advance the field of high pressure phase transformations are suggested. The key points are: (a) to take into account plastic deformations and microstructure evolution during transformations; (b) to formulate phase transformation criteria and kinetic equations in terms of stress and plastic strain tensors (instead of pressure alone); (c) to develop multiscale continuum theories, and (d) to couple experimental, theoretical, and computational studies of the behavior of a tested sample to extract information about fields of stress and strain tensors and concentration of high pressure phase, transformation criteria and kinetics. The ideal characterization should contain complete information which is required for simulation of the same experiments.
This is a manuscript of the article Levitas, Valery. "High pressure phase transformations revisited." Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter (2018). DOI: 10.1088/1361-648X/aab4b0. Posted with permission.