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(1) In an alloy, a metastable transitional structure intermediate between two allotropic modifications whose abilities to dissolve a given solute differ considerably, the high-temperature phase having the greater solubility. The amount of the high temperature phase transformed to martensite depends to a large extent upon the temperature attained in cooling, there being a rather distinct beginning temperature. (2) A metastable phase of steel, formed by a transformation of austenite below the Ms (or Ar”) temperature. It is an interstitial supersaturated solid solution of carbon in iron having a body-centered tetragonal lattice. Its microstructure is characterized by an acicular, or needle-like, pattern.

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