This book deals with the phenomenological theory of first-order structural phase transitions, with a special emphasis on reconstructive transformations in which a group-subgroup relationship between the symmetries of the phases is absent. It starts with a unified presentation of the current approach to first-order phase transitions, using the more recent results of the Landau theory of phase transitions and of the theory of singularities. A general theory of reconstructive phase transitions is then formulated, in which the structures surrounding a transition are expressed in terms of density-waves, providing a natural definition of the transition order-parameters, and a description of the corresponding phase diagrams and relevant physical properties. The applicability of the theory is illustrated by a large number of concrete examples pertaining to the various classes of reconstructive transitions: allotropic transformations of the elements, displacive and order-disorder transformations in metals, alloys and related structures, crystal-quasicrystal transformations.

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