Molecular structure of amorphous solids

Raman, C. V. (1922) Molecular structure of amorphous solids Nature, 109 (2727). pp. 138-139. ISSN 0028-0836

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A question of fundamental importance in the theory of the solid state is the nature of the arrangement of the ultimate particles in amorphous or vitreous bodies, of which glass is the most familiar example. Is it to be supposed that the molecules are packed together at more or less uniform distances apart, as in crystals, the orientation of individual molecules or of groups of molecules being, however, arbitrary? Or, on the other hand, is the spacing of the molecules itself irregular, the solid exhibiting in a more or less permanent form local fluctuations of density similar to those that arise transitorily in liquids owing to the movement of the molecules? The physical properties of amorphous solids, notably their softening and viscous flow below the temperature of complete fusion, would tend to support the latter view, but the possibility of a closer approximation to the crystalline state should not entirely be, ruled out, especially in view of the very interesting recent work of Lord Rayleigh on the feeble double refraction exhibited by fused silica (Proc. Roy. Soc., 1920, p. 284). A good deal might be expected to depend on the nature of the material, its mode of preparation, and heat treatment. A material formed by simple fusion and re-solidification of comparatively simple molecules, such as silicon dioxide, might stand on a different footing from a material such as ordinary glass built up by chemical action and formation of complex silicates.

Item Type:Article
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ID Code:52615
Deposited On:04 Aug 2011 07:28
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