Glass has been around for centuries, and the art of glassmaking is almost as old as time itself. But surprisingly, not all is known about this everyday material that we use in countless ways. Scientists at the University of Konstanz have discovered an interesting variation, i.e., liquid glass.
We have heard this numerous times that glass is already liquid; however, it is not true at all and instead is misinformation spread by multiple sources. Instead of atoms that are free-flowing in liquid and then convert into rigid crystal formation, they convert into a solid-state glass atom freeze in the disorderly state they are in.
The new study has some interesting yet unusual findings, i.e., atoms continue to move but cannot rotate. This is a complex behavior that hasn’t been observed in the bulk glass before.
The discovery was made by the team using the model system of colloidal suspension. Solid particles, fairly large, are suspended in these mixtures so that scientists can observe atoms’ physical behavior.
For this experiment, elliptical particles were used instead of the more regular sphere ones so that movement of particles in every direction can be seen. Various concentrations of particles were tested, and their movement and rotation were tracked. The results show that the particles could move but not rotate at higher concentrations since they blocked each other.
The tale of liquid glass is decades old. As per the researchers’ team, the behaviors result from two glass transitions competing with each other.
Matthias Fuchs, the senior author of this study, exclaims that this is an exciting finding from a theoretical point. The scientific community has been looking for some time now.
For more information on the research, please check the National Academy of Sciences Proceedings, the journal where the research is originally published.