Solve the mystery of "duplicity" of glass


23/06/2008

Although the glass outwardly like a solid body, its molecules do not constitute a regular crystal lattice and gradually move from place to place in a liquid. Until now, it was unclear why the glass behaves.

Recently, however, an international team of researchers reported that she had learned how glass gets its unusual properties. This finding may give rise to new materials that combine the best properties of metal and glass.

In their studies, the researchers used gel with 2 micron particles of plastic to simulate the behavior of glass during cooling. Embedded in plastic gel particles behave exactly like the molecules of glass, but they are large enough that they can be seen with a microscope.

To simulate temperature changes, scientists gradually added to gel the second polymer and the mixture was ultimately passed to the glassy state.

By confocal (confocal) microscope capable of showing three-dimensional structures, the researchers found that the plastic particles are formed with the formation of icosahedral fivefold symmetry. This form does not allow particles to form a continuous three-dimensional crystal lattice, which is observed in solids, while also preventing the free movement characteristic of the fluid.

Three-dimensional animation icosahedrons (822 KB).

Study leader, Patrick Royal (Patrick Royall), believes that the molecules of the glass behave the same way. That is, not fully crystallize can, but also move freely.

For 50 years it was thought that the "duplicity" of glass are multi-faceted structure. But only the present study was able to confirm this postulate in the laboratory. Popular news articles of science and technology only on our website.

Original: Newscientist.com


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