Researchers led by The University of Tokyo employed a new computer model to simulate the networks of force-carrying particles that give amorphous solids their strength even though they lack long range order. This work may lead to new advances in high-strength glass, which can be used for cooking, industrial, and smartphone applications.
Amorphous solids such as glass — despite being brittle and having constituent particles that do not form ordered lattices — can possess surprising strength and rigidity. This is even more unexpected because amorphous systems also suffer from large anharmonic fluctuations. The secret is an internal network of force-bearing particles that span the entire solid which lends strength to the system. This branching, dynamic network acts like a skeleton that prevents the material from yielding to stress even though it makes up only a small fraction of the total particles. However, this network only forms after a “percolation transition”