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Vitrification and irradiation can both result in the disordering of materials, that is, in the loss of the structural periodicity observed inside crystals. In the case of vitrification, a material is quenched from its liquid state fast enough to avoid crystallization. In this case, due to the high cooling rate, the atoms do not have enough time to reorganize in order to achieve the structure of the crystal and remain stuck in a disordered state. In the case of irradiation, high-energy particle like neutrons collide with the atoms of the network, thereby inducing the formation of structural defects (permanent displacements of atoms). These defects accumulate over time, which can eventually lead to a complete disordering of the material.

Although these two mechanisms both result in a disordered atomic network, our recent results suggest that they differ in nature. These results were reported in the Journal of Chemical Physics:
Irradiation- vs. vitrification-induced disordering: The case of a-quartz and glassy silica” (DOI: 10.1063/1.4982944)

This study was highlighted by various media:

Disorderly conduct: Simulations reveal irradiated materials are surprisingly disordered, question safety of vitrified nuclear waste

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2017/may/29/solid-becomes-liquid-like-when-irradiated

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-05/aiop-aso051817.php

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-05/aiop-aso051817.php

http://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=47734

https://phys.org/news/2017-05-atomic-irradiated-materials-akin-liquid.html

 

  Posts

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June 10th, 2017

Irradiation- vs. vitrification-induced damage in materials

Vitrification and irradiation can both result in the disordering of materials, that is, in the loss of the structural periodicity […]

February 15th, 2017

Postdoc position: Design/fabrication of advanced cementitious composites

The Laboratory for the Chemistry of Construction (LC2) Materials in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is seeking a […]

February 15th, 2017

Postdoc position: Design and optimization of CO2 utilization processes

The Laboratory for the Chemistry of Construction (LC2) Materials in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is seeking a […]

January 27th, 2017

Grader position

We have an immediate opening for a grader position for the course CEE 108: Mechanics of Materials. Instructions to apply

December 24th, 2016

Ph.D. position in mesoscale simulations of materials

The Physics of AmoRphous and Inorganic Solids Laboratory (PARISlab) and the Laboratory for the Chemistry of Construction (LC2) Materials at […]

February 14th, 2016

Mesoscale texture of cement hydrates

Ioannidou, K, K Krakowiak, M Bauchy, C Hoover, E Masoero, S Yip, FJ Ulm, P Levitz, R Pellenq, and E [...]
February 14th, 2016

Nanoductility in silicate glasses is driven by topological heterogeneity

Wang, B, Y Yu, M Wang, J Mauro, and M Bauchy. 2016. "Nanoductility in silicate glasses is driven by topological [...]
February 14th, 2016

Direct Experimental Evidence for Differing Reactivity Alterations of Minerals following Irradiation: The Case of Calcite and Quartz

Pignatelli, I, A Kumar, KG Field, B Wang, Y Yu, Y Le Pape, M Bauchy, and G Sant. 2016. "Direct [...]
November 6th, 2015

Stretched Exponential Relaxation of Glasses at Low Temperature

Yu, Y., M. Wang, D. Zhang, G. Sant, and M. Bauchy. 2015. "Stretched Exponential Relaxation of Glasses at Low Temperature." [...]
November 6th, 2015

Unique effects of thermal and pressure histories on glass hardness: Structural and topological origin

Smedskjaer, M., M. Bauchy, J. Mauro, S. Rzoska, and M. Bockowski. 2015. "Unique effects of thermal and pressure histories on [...]