What is it about?

Zinc chloride is an ionic glass forming system. It features a relatively short distance between neighbouring Zn2+ cations, which reflects a screening effect from the Cl- anions. Here, we investigate the stucture of this iconic material from its boiling point to the glass using neutron and x-ray diffraction. An interplay between the proportion of corner- and edge-sharing tetrahedral ZnCl4 motifs is found, with edge-sharing conformations being more numerous in the high temperature liquid.

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Why is it important?

The work establishes the temperature dependence of the structural correlations on different length scales for a classical network glass-forming system with the aid of structural models that are consistent with the diffraction results. This account includes a description of the ring statistics. Concentration fluctuations are observed on an intermediate structural length scale and originate primarily from the appearance of edge-sharing conformations.


From a scientific perspective, it was fascinating to trace the structure of a network glass-forming system over such a broad range of disordered states. From a technical perspective, it was helpful to make a resolution function correction to the neutron diffraction results before combining them with the x-ray results to build realistic structural models.

Professor Philip S Salmon
University of Bath

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Structure of the network glass-former ZnCl2: From the boiling point to the glass, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, January 2015, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2014.08.027.
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