Isochoric structural recovery in molecular glasses and its analog in colloidal glasses

Sourya Banik, Gregory B. McKenna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Concentrated colloidal dispersions have been regarded as models for molecular glasses. One of the many ways to compare the behavior in these two different systems is by comparing the structural recovery or the physical aging behavior. However, recent investigations from our group to examine structural recovery in thermosensitive colloidal dispersions have shown contrasting results between the colloidal and the molecular glasses. The differences in the behaviors of the two systems have led us to pose this question: Is structural recovery behavior in colloidal glasses truly distinct from that of molecular glasses or is the conventional experimental condition (isobaric temperature-jumps) in determining the structural recovery in molecular glasses different from the experimental condition in the colloidal experiments (concentration- or volume fraction-jumps); i.e., are colloidal glasses inherently different from molecular glasses or not? To address the question, we resort to model calculations of structural recovery in a molecular glass under constant volume (isochoric) conditions following temperature only- and simultaneous volume- and temperature-jumps, which are closer to the volume fraction-jump conditions used in the thermosensitive-colloidal experiments. The current model predictions are then compared with the signatures of structural recovery under the conventional isobaric state in a molecular glass and with structural recovery behavior in colloidal glasses following volume fraction-jumps. We show that the results obtained from the experiments conducted by our group were contrasting to classical molecular glass behavior because the basis of our comparisons were incorrect (the histories were not analogous). The present calculations (with analogous histories) are qualitatively closer to the colloidal behavior. The signatures of "intrinsic isotherms" and "asymmetry of approach" in the current isochoric model predictions are quite different from those in the classical isobaric conditions while the "memory" signatures remain essentially the same. While there are qualitative similarities between the current isochoric model predictions and results from colloidal glasses, it appears from the calculations that the origins of these are different. The isochoric histories in the molecular glasses have compensating effects of pressure and departure from equilibrium which determines the structure dependence on mobility of the molecules. On the other hand, in the colloids it simply appears that the volume fraction-jump conditions simply do not exhibit such structure mobility dependence. The determining interplay of thermodynamic phase variables in colloidal and molecular systems might be very different or at least their correlations are yet to be ascertained. This topic requires further investigation to bring the similarities and differences between molecular and colloidal glass formers into fuller clarity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number062601
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 4 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Isochoric structural recovery in molecular glasses and its analog in colloidal glasses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this