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Poisson's ratio and the fragility of glass-forming liquids


The nature of the transformation by which a supercooled liquid ‘freezes’ to a glass—the glass transition—is a central issue in condensed matter physics1,2,3 but also affects many other fields, including biology4. Substantial progress has been made in understanding this phenomenon over the past two decades, yet many key questions remain. In particular, the factors that control the temperature-dependent relaxation and viscous properties of the liquid phase as the glass transition is approached (that is, whether the glass-forming liquid is ‘fragile’ or ‘strong’5,6,7) remain unclear. Here we show that the fragility of a glass-forming liquid is intimately linked to a very basic property of the corresponding glass phase: the relative strength of shear and bulk moduli, or Poisson's ratio.

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Figure 1: An example of a fragility plot.
Figure 2: Correlation between fragility and the ratio of longitudinal and transversal sound velocities found in the glassy state.
Figure 3: Correlation between fragility and the ratio of the high-temperature activation energy to the glass transition temperature.

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This work was supported by NSF and REFI grants.

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Correspondence to A. P. Sokolov.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Table 1

The value of parameters used in the paper in Figures 1–3, Supplementary Figure 1, and respective references. In this table, the transversal and longitudinal sound velocities in glassy state, the high temperature activation energy of shear viscosity, fragility index, the amplitude of the boson peak, and glass transition temperature of some glass formers are shown. (DOC 70 kb)

Supplementary Figure 1

Correlation between the boson peak amplitude normalized to the Debye density of states, Abp, with the ratio of longitudinal and transversal sound velocities found at high frequencies in the glassy state. (DOC 200 kb)

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Novikov, V., Sokolov, A. Poisson's ratio and the fragility of glass-forming liquids. Nature 431, 961–963 (2004).

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