Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Prof's new theory explains the mysterious nature of glass

Richard Wool, professor of chemical engineering: "The [Twinkling Fractal Theory] enables a number of predictions of universal behavior to be made about glassy materials of all sorts, including polymers, metals and ceramics.” Photo by Kathy Atkinson
Richard Wool, professor of chemical engineering: "The [Twinkling Fractal Theory] enables a number of predictions of universal behavior to be made about glassy materials of all sorts, including polymers, metals and ceramics.” Photo by Kathy Atkinson

Abstract:
Archaeological evidence suggests that glass was first made in the Middle East sometime around 3000 B.C. However, almost 5,000 years later, scientists are still perplexed about how glassy materials make the transition from a molten state to a solid. Richard Wool, professor of chemical engineering at UD, thinks he has the answer.

In a paper to be published later this year in the Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics, Wool documents a new conceptual approach, known as the Twinkling Fractal Theory (TFT), to understanding the nature and structure of the glass transition in amorphous materials. The theory provides a quantitative way of describing a phenomenon that was previously explained from a strictly empirical perspective.

Prof's new theory explains the mysterious nature of glass

Newark, DE | Posted on September 10th, 2008

"The TFT enables a number of predictions of universal behavior to be made about glassy materials of all sorts, including polymers, metals and ceramics," Wool says.

What distinguishes glasses from other materials is that even after hardening, they retain the molecular disorder of a liquid. In contrast, other liquids--for example, water--assume an ordered crystal pattern when they harden. Glass does not undergo such a neat phase transition; rather, the molecules simply slow down gradually until they are stuck in an odd state somewhere between a liquid and a solid.

Another difference between glasses and more conventional materials is that their transition from the liquid to the solid state does not occur at a standard temperature, like that of water to ice, but instead is rate-dependent: the more rapid the cooling, the higher the glass transition temperature.

Wool discovered that as a liquid cools toward the glassy state, the atoms form clusters that eventually become stable and percolate near the glass transition temperature. The percolating clusters are stable fractals, or structures with irregular or fragmented shapes.

"At the glass transition temperature, these fractals appear to twinkle in a specific frequency spectrum," Wool says. "The twinkling frequencies determine the kinetics of the glass transition temperature and the dynamics of the glassy state."

The theory has been validated by experimental results reported by Nathan Israeloff, a physics professor at Northeastern University. "He was not aware of the TFT," Wool says, "but his results fit my theory in extraordinarily explicit detail."

TFT was developed as an outgrowth of Wool's research on bio-based materials such as soy-based composites. "It was my need to solve issues in the development of these materials that led me to the theory," he says.

In a recent article in the Science Times section of The New York Times about the nature of glass, journalist Kenneth Chang refers to the puzzle of the glass transition as "an arguably Nobel-worthy problem." While Wool acknowledges that it is an important breakthrough, he says that it will take time for the impact to be clear. "It will have to play itself out in the scientific literature," he says.

For now, Wool is content to view the theory as a portal into materials science and solid-state physics that others can use to go in new directions. "Acceptance will come when people recognize that it works," he says.

TFT has the potential to contribute to better understanding of such phenomena as fracture, aggregation and physical aging of materials. "It is also giving us new insights into the peculiarities of nanomaterials, which behave very differently from their macroscopic counterparts," Wool says.

Wool, who earned his doctorate at the University of Utah, joined the UD faculty in 1995. An affiliated faculty member in the Center for Composite Materials, he was recently featured on the Sundance Channel series "Big Ideas for a Small Planet."

Article by Diane Kukich

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
105 East Main Street
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716 • USA
Phone: (302) 831-2792

Copyright © University of Delaware

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Arrowhead to Present at BioCentury's NewsMakers in the Biotech Industry Conference September 19th, 2014

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) Receives NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 Award to Produce Greater than 99% Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes September 19th, 2014

Toward optical chips: A promising light source for optoelectronic chips can be tuned to different frequencies September 19th, 2014

New research points to graphene as a flexible, low-cost touchscreen solution September 19th, 2014

Discoveries

Toward optical chips: A promising light source for optoelectronic chips can be tuned to different frequencies September 19th, 2014

New research points to graphene as a flexible, low-cost touchscreen solution September 19th, 2014

CiQUS researchers design an artificial nose to detect DNA differentiation with single nucleotide resolution September 18th, 2014

Big Results Require Big Ambitions: Three young UCSB faculty receive CAREER awards from the National Science Foundation September 18th, 2014

Materials/Metamaterials

Big Results Require Big Ambitions: Three young UCSB faculty receive CAREER awards from the National Science Foundation September 18th, 2014

Wear-resistant ceramic powder maximises component lifespan in high-stress applications: Innovnano’s nanostructured 3YSZ offers improved tribological performance for manufacturing components September 18th, 2014

Next-Gen Luxury RV From Global Caravan Technologies Will Offer MagicView Roof and Windshield Using SPD-SmartGlass Technology From Research Frontiers: Recreational Vehicle Manufacturer Global Caravan Technologies (GCT) Features 28 Square Feet of MagicView™ SPD-SmartGlass September 17th, 2014

Nanoribbon film keeps glass ice-free: Rice University lab refines deicing film that allows radio frequencies to pass September 16th, 2014

Announcements

Arrowhead to Present at BioCentury's NewsMakers in the Biotech Industry Conference September 19th, 2014

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) Receives NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 Award to Produce Greater than 99% Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes September 19th, 2014

Toward optical chips: A promising light source for optoelectronic chips can be tuned to different frequencies September 19th, 2014

New research points to graphene as a flexible, low-cost touchscreen solution September 19th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE