© 2019 Elsevier B.V. Rapid solidification is a relevant physical phenomenon in material sciences, whose theoretical analysis requires going beyond the limits of local equilibrium statistical physics and thermodynamics and, in particular, taking account of ergodicity breaking and of generalized formulation of thermodynamics. The ergodicity breaking is related to the time symmetry breaking and to the presence of some kinds of fluxes and gradient flows making that an average of microscopic variables along time is different than an average over some chosen statistical ensemble. In fast processes, this is due, for instance, to the fact that the system has no time enough to explore the whole region of possible microscopic states in the phase space. Similarly to this, systems submitted to strong fluxes may have no time for reaching the whole phase space in local bulks during observable macroscopic time. Rapid solidification, ergodicity breaking and extended thermodynamics actually make a conceptually novel combination in the present overview: ergodicity breaking is expressed in general terms and then extended thermodynamics is formulated as a particular phenomenological expression and applied to describe the dynamics of the phenomenon. Using the formalism of micro- and meso-scopic dynamics we introduce a general view on non-ergodic fast transitions and provide a simplest description of a continuum theory based on the system of hyperbolic equations applicable to rapid solidification. Analysis of non-equilibrium effects, including interface kinetics, solute trapping and solute drag, is presented with their effect on the rapidly moving solid–liquid interface. Special attention is paid to the theory predictions compared with the kinetics obtained in experiments on samples processed by electromagnetic levitation facility and in molecular dynamics simulation.