a metastable microconstituent of any of various forms of carbon steel, produced by undercooling sufficiently below the normal transformation temperature, especially a hard, brittle product of the decomposition of austenite, produced in this way.
Origin of martensite
1895-1900; named after Adolf Martens (died 1914), German metallurgist; see -ite1
Some austenite will be retained in the martensite structure unless the steel is refrigerated.
Typically, an optimal microstructure consists of fine tempered martensite with few primary carbide particles.
When the martensite is deformed, and then heated, the original heat-treated shape is recovered.
The best known example is the formation of martensite steel, hardening the material for structural applications.
British Dictionary definitions for martensite
a constituent formed in steels by rapid quenching, consisting of a supersaturated solid solution of carbon in iron. It is formed by the breakdown of austenite when the rate of cooling is large enough to prevent pearlite forming
martensitic (ˌmɑːtɪnˈzɪtɪk) adjective
C20: named after Adolf Martens (died 1914), German metallurgist