Publication: Silica through the eyes of colloidal models – when glass is a gel

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Title Silica through the eyes of colloidal models – when glass is a gel
Authors/Editors* I. Saika-Voivod, H.M. King, P. Tartaglia, F. Sciortino, and E. Zaccarelli
Where published* J. Phys.: Condens. Matter
How published* Journal
Year* 2011
Volume 23
Pages 285101
We perform molecular dynamics simulations of ‘floating bond’ (FB) models of network-forming liquids and compare the structure and dynamics against the BKS model of silica (van Beest et al 1990 Phys. Rev. Lett. 64 1955), with the aim of gaining a better understanding of glassy silica in terms of the variety of non-ergodic states seen in colloids. At low densities, all the models form tetrahedral networks. At higher densities, tailoring the FB model to allow a higher number of bonds does not capture the structure seen in BKS. Upon rescaling the time and length in order to compare mean squared displacements between models, we find that there are significant differences in the temperature dependence of the diffusion coefficient at high density. Additionally, the FB models show a greater range in variability in the behavior of the non-ergodicity parameter and caging length, quantities used to distinguish colloidal gels and glasses. Hence, we find that the glassy behavior of BKS silica can be interpreted as a ‘gel’ at low densities, with only a marginal gel-to-glass crossover at higher densities.
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