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The stability of a solid solution to all infinitesimal composition fluctuations is considered, taking surface tension and elastic energy into account. It is found that for infinite isotropic solids, free from imperfections the spinodal marks the limit of metastability to such fluctuations only if there is no change in molar volume with composition. Otherwise the elastic energy due to a fluctuation stabilizes the solution and alters the criterion for the limit of metastability. For an unstable solution the kinetics of decomposition are discussed and the expected mean particle size or wavelength of the most rapidly growing fluctuation is derived.

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