Place: PTM 2015: Solid-Solid Phase Transformations in Inorganic Materials, Whistler, Canada
Zener’s model of pearlite transformation in steels can be viewed as the prototype of many microstructure evolution models in materials science. It links principles of thermodynamics and kinetics to the scale of the microstructure. In addition it solves a very practical problem: How the hardness of steel is correlated to the conditions of processing. Although the model is well established since the 1950s, quantitative explanation of growth kinetics is still a matter of debate. The presentation will shortly review the classical model of pearlite transformation. Zener’s conjecture of maximum entropy production will be annotated by modern theoretical and experimental considerations of a band of stable (sometimes oscillating) states around the state of maximum entropy production. Finally, several mechanisms are investigated quantitatively be phase-field simulations which must be active together to reproduce the observed growth kinetics of pearlite.