from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A solid solution of iron and up to one percent of carbon, the chief constituent of hardened carbon tool steels.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A solid solution of carbon in iron; the chief constituent of steel
  • n. Any crystal structure formed by a martensitic transition

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A very hard carbide of iron, approximately of the composition Fe24C, formed in the recalescenee of steel at 850° C. in cooling from a temperature of 1,000° C. or over. It remains unchanged if the metal is then suddenly cooled, as by plunging it into cold water, but on slow cooling is decomposed into iron and the carbide Fe3C. On the other hand, it appears that this latter compound, known as cementite, may split into martensite and carbon in the form of graphite.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a solid solution of carbon in alpha-iron that is formed when steel is cooled so rapidly that the change from austenite to pearlite is suppressed; responsible for the hardness of quenched steel


After Adolf Martens (1850-1914), German metallurgist.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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