A Novel Topological Compression Mechanism in a Covalent Liquid

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Science  26 Oct 1990:
Vol. 250, Issue 4980, pp. 541-543
DOI: 10.1126/science.250.4980.541


Monte Carlo simulations of tetrahedrally bonded SiO2 liquid show that pressure induces large changes in the topology of its four-coordinated framework structure but leaves the average properties of local coordination environments virtually unchanged. Ring statistics are used to describe the liquid's topology; the observed changes paradoxically indicate that the liquid compresses primarily by increasing the size of its rings. A theory for the effects of ring formation on density, which also explains the density of crystalline tectosilicates, accounts for the compression of the liquid.

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