This chapter discusses ferroic materials, which are the first of the three types of nonlinear-response materials discussed in this book, the other two being soft materials and nanostructured materials. Their nonlinear properties are a consequence of one or more ferroic phase transitions that can occur in them. The chapter begins with an introduction to phase transitions and critical phenomena in crystals. Ferroic phase transitions are those that involve a change of point-group symmetry in a nondisruptive manner. Their thermodynamic classification is described, which helps divide ferroic materials into ferroelectrics, ferromagnetics, ferroelastics, ferrobielastics, ferroelastoelectrics, etc. The poling process for ferroic ceramics is explained. The domain structure of ferroics, and the possibilities of tailoring this structure to advantage are discussed. The importance of multiferroics in smart-structures research is emphasized. There are also sections on spin-glasses, shape-memory alloys and ceramics, and relaxor ferroelectrics. The book has helpful appendices on crystallographic symmetry and on tensor properties.
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