March 12, 2013
Most people think of glass as a material that is rigid and easily broken – but that isn’t necessarily the case of course. Recently a team from Yale University, together with their collaborators, discovered a way of predicting whether or not glasses will be brittle or ductile. They have asserted that theoretically any glass can have either quality, the key being the speed of the cooling process during its formation.
“We identified a special temperature that tells you whether you form a ductile or brittle glass,” explains Jan Schroers, a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Yale, who led the research together with Golden Kumar, a professor at Texas Tech University. To make a glass that is ductile, it must be cooled quickly – the exact speed depending on the properties of the glass in question.