The response of materials under extreme temperature and pressure conditions is a topic of great significance because of its relevance in astrophysics, geophysics, and inertial confinement fusion. In recent years, environments exceeding several hundred gigapascals in pressure have been produced in the laboratory via laser-based dynamic loading techniques. Shock-loading is of particular interest as the shock provides a fiducial for measuring time-dependent processes in the lattice such as phase transitions. Time-resolved x-ray diffraction is the only technique that offers an insight into these shock-induced processes at the relevant spatial (atomic) and temporal scales.;In this study, nanosecond resolution x-ray diffraction techniques were developed and implemented towards the study of shock-induced phase transitions in polycrystalline materials. More specifically, the capability of a focusing x-ray diffraction geometry in high-resolution in situ lattice measurements was demonstrated by probing shock-compressed Cu and amorphous metallic glass samples. In addition, simultaneous lattice and free surface velocity measurements of shock-compressed Mg in the ambient hexagonal close packed (hcp) and shock-induced body centered cubic (bcc) phases between 12 and 45 GPa were performed. These measurements revealed x-ray diffraction signals consistent with a compressed bcc lattice above a shock pressure of 26.2+/-1.3 GPa, thus capturing for the first time direct lattice evidence of a shock-induced hcp to bcc phase transition in Mg. Our measurement of the hcp-bcc phase boundary in Mg was found to be consistent with the calculated boundary from generalized pseudopotential theory in the pressure and temperature region intersected by the principal shock Hugoniot. Furthermore, the subnanosecond timescale of the phase transition implied by the shock-loading conditions was in agreement with the kinetics of a martensitic transformation. In conclusion, we report on the progress and future work towards time-resolved x-ray diffraction measurements probing solid-liquid phase transitions in high Z polycrystalline materials, specifically Bi.