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A theory of the insulator-metal transition in transition-metal compounds is developed in terms of the collapse of the effective energy gap which is a function of the thermally excited electron-hole pairs. This dependence is shown to arise from the hole-lattice interaction. The reaction of the lattice is found to be equivalent to generating an internal positive pressure (strain). Estimates show that the observed typical behaviour of the conductivity jump and the change of volume at the transition temperature can be explained by the present theory.
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