Materials are developed and improved by adjusting both the alloy chemistry and the processing conditions to achieve desired microstructures and properties. Traditionally, these improvements have been made by a slow and labor-intensive series of experiments. But it is now possible to replace this expensive trial and error process by carrying out only a few ‘key’ experiments in conjunction with thermodynamic calculations. These calculations are powerful tools for alloy design, enabling improvement in the selection of alloy chemistry and the parameters used for fabrication steps such as heat treatments. In order to have the utmost confidence in the results obtained from the calculations, it is essential to have high quality thermodynamic databases. Such databases can be used not only in phase equilibrium calculations but also as the critical input for further kinetic simulations. In the present paper, we present our work on the development of reliable thermodynamic databases for nickel-based superalloys and iron alloys. We first briefly describe the methodology of developing these databases and then discuss some specific examples using the databases. With the aid of these examples, the usefulness of thermodynamic databases in aiding the development of advanced materials is discussed.

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