in metallurgy, generation in some metal alloys of a structure consisting of two or more phases of different crystal lattices.
Heterogenization is achieved by special physical treatment, including prolonged aging and directed crystallization. A heterogeneous structure in an alloy may also be attained by a certain proportioning of its components. Alloys with heterogeneous structures in many cases possess definite advantages over single-phase structures, such as greater strength (particularly high-temperature strength) and other specific properties. The structure of heterogeneous alloys contains 10 to 50 percent of the harder component. In this case, not only the quantity of the strengthening phase is important, but also its particle size and the character of particle distribution in the basic structure (in the interior or at the grain boundaries of the solid solution). Alloy strengthening during heterogenization is as a rule accompanied by a reduction in plasticity. Examples of alloys with strongly pronounced heterogenization are the so-called composition materials and the cast alloys, which contain a discrete “skeletal” network formed by one of the phases.