Elasticity of α-Cristobalite: A Silicon Dioxide with a Negative Poisson's Ratio

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Science  31 Jul 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5070, pp. 650-652
DOI: 10.1126/science.257.5070.650


Laser Brillouin spectroscopy was used to determine the adiabatic single-crystal elastic stiffness coefficients of silicon dioxide (SiO2) in the α-cristobalite structure. This SiO2 polymorph, unlike other silicas and silicates, exhibits a negative Poisson's ratio; α-cristobalite contracts laterally when compressed and expands laterally when stretched. Tensorial analysis of the elastic coefficients shows that Poisson's ratio reaches a maximum value of –0.5 in some directions, whereas averaged values for the single-phased aggregate yield a Poisson's ratio of –0.16.

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