What is it about?

We investigate how the structure-related physical characteristics of glassy materials can be changed significantly by the application of pressure. The focus is on silica glass because it is the basic constituent of silicate materials, and there is much information on its pressure-dependent structure and properties from both experiments and computer simulations.

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Why is it important?

High pressures have a significant impact on the structure-related properties of glass, and are encountered in scenarios that range from fracture mechanics, where stress in the gigapascal regime is easily generated by sharp-contact loading, to the manufacture of permanently densified materials with tuned physical characteristics. Here, we consider the pressure-induced structural changes that occur in glass and show that, for oxide materials, the oxygen-packing fraction plays a key role in determining when these changes are likely to occur. Fivefold coordinated Si atoms appear as important intermediaries in the pressure-induced deformation of silica glass.

Perspectives

It is important to understand the way in which glasses deform under high pressure conditions to understand their response to sharp contact loading.

Professor Philip S Salmon
University of Bath

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This page is a summary of: Impact of pressure on the structure of glass and its material properties, MRS Bulletin, October 2017, Cambridge University Press, DOI: 10.1557/mrs.2017.210.
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