Science Questions with Surprising Answers
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Dr. Christopher S. Baird

How can glass be a liquid if it's so hard?

Category: Chemistry      Published: December 18, 2012

glass angel figurine
Public Domain Image, source: Christopher S. Baird.

Glass is not a liquid in the strictest sense of the word. But it is also not a standard solid. The chemistry of glass is complex and research is ongoing, but the current consensus is that glass is a phase of matter all its own, known as an "amorphous solid". Scientists refer to any amorphous solid as a "glass". Glass transitions are highly complex and cannot be treated in the same way as traditional phase transitions, according to the textbook "Glasses and the Glass Transition" by Ivan S. Gutzow.

Topics: amorphous, amorphous solid, glass, glass liquid, liquid glass, phase, phase transition, solid