Glass in the Making

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Science  19 Dec 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5909, pp. 1753
DOI: 10.1126/science.322.5909.1753c

A challenge to identifying materials that will form glassy solids is to find properties in the melt state that would indicate that the material will not crystallize on cooling. Li et al. (p. 1816) describe a method to measure the density changes during crystallization in thin films for a range of copper-zirconium alloys and compare these findings with the maxima in the critical thickness for forming a glass via rapid quenching. A match between the peaks in density and glass-forming ability was observed. The finding of three sets of matching peaks conflicts with existing models on glass formation, which can only account for one set of matching peaks.

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