The rapid technological developments during the later half of the 20th century have demanded materials that are stronger, capable of use at much higher temperatures, more corrosion-resistant, and much less expensive than those currently used. These demands become even more significant on the threshold of the new century and the millennium. Significant improvements in properties can only be achieved by processing the materials under far-from-equilibrium (or non-equilibrium) conditions. Several new processing technologies have been developed during the past few decades including, rapid solidification, spray forming, mechanical alloying, ion mixing, vapor deposition, laser processing and plasma processing.
Remarkable advances have been made in recent years in the science and technology of these processes used to synthesize, characterize, and apply these materials processed under non-equilibrium conditions. Some of these techniques have evolved from laboratory curiosity to commercial-scale manufacturing in just a few years. In other cases, industrial necessity prompted development of the technology, and the science followed later.
The chapters in this book have been written by people who are world-recognized experts in their respective fields. Each chapter describes the principles, processing techniques, special features of the materials produced, and their applications. An extensive list of references is provided at the end of each chapter that will facilitate location of additional information on specific aspects of any technique.