Almost any change in the structure of a crystal, due to small atomic displacements, atomic ordering, magnetisation, etc., is usually accompanied by changes in lattice parameters. If suitable reference states are defined, such lattice parameter variations can be described quantitatively as a combination of linear and shear strains. What was originally a geometrical description then becomes a thermodynamic description if the relationships of the strains to the elastic constants are also defined. For a phase transition in which the parent and product phases are related by symmetry, only very specific combinations of strain will be consistent with the symmetry change,...

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