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A study is made of the thermodynamics of a non-local medium whose evolution is governed not only by the temperature and pressure, but also by the field of a relaxation parameter. For solid-state materials which undergo a phase transition, such a relaxation parameter is the order parameter. Heat transport equations are derived together with a thermodynamic inequality which must be satisfied during relaxation. The motion of an interphase boundary during a first-order phase transition is investigated. It is shown that, if the width of the boundary exceeds a critical value, there are steady-state conditions under which the new phase formed in an exothermal transition may be at a temperature above the equilibrium temperature.


Copyright (1988) American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics.

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