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This discussion focuses on the development of nanostructured materials through controlled primary crystallization reactions of amorphous alloys. The nanocrystalline state is at the forefront of study in a variety of disciplines involving condensed matter. In broad terms the main activities can be classified into material synthesis strategies, property measurement and evaluation, applications, and computer simulation and modeling. A key attribute of the nanocrystalline state that offers a broad attraction for many disciplines is derived from the nanometer length scale. At this length scale the chemical, biological, physical, mechanical, and structural properties and performance of materials are susceptible to significant changes during synthesis, and the current computational capabilities allow for effective simulation and analysis of nanocrystalline assemblies.
The principles that govern the kinetics of microstructural evolution apply directly to other devitrification reactions that yield nanostructured intermetallic phases and quasi-crystalline phases that are also promising in terms of their structural and functional performance. Some of the key issues concerning synthesis and stability are illustrated from the observed behavior in specific amorphous alloys, but the discussion also applies to other similar alloy systems.