Steric strain arises when the chemically predicted bond networks cannot be mapped into three-dimensional space (Section 11.1) without stretching or compressing the bonds. Strain is measured by the global instability index, G, or the bond strain index, B, which both provide criteria for stability (Section 11.2). The different ways in which a structure can relax into a less strained form, e.g. through defects or phase transitions, are illustrated by the relaxations observed in La2NiO4 and other compounds (Section 11.3). Strain sometimes results in a superstructure or an incommensurate modulated structure (Section 11.4).
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