Using 20-million-year-old amber to test the super-Arrhenius behaviour of glass-forming systems

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Abstract

Fossil amber offers the opportunity to investigate the dynamics of glass-forming materials far below the nominal glass transition temperature. This is important in the context of classical theory, as well as some new theories that challenge the idea of an 'ideal' glass transition. Here we report results from calorimetric and stress relaxation experiments using a 20-million-year-old Dominican amber. By performing the stress relaxation experiments in a step-wise fashion, we measured the relaxation time at each temperature and, above the fictive temperature of this 20-million-year-old glass, this is an upper bound to the equilibrium relaxation time. The results deviate dramatically from the expectation of classical theory and are consistent with some modern ideas, in which the diverging timescale signature of complex fluids disappears below the glass transition temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1783
JournalNature Communications
Volume4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

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