There is a new state of matter in town!3 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
All Things Science
Matter is anything that takes up space (volume) and has weight (mass).
So, that covers almost everything. This is why a new discovery about matter, matters to all of us! And scientists have just found a new state of matter: Liquid Glass.
Liquid glass is a state of matter where individual particles are able to move yet unable to rotate. Liquid glass always faces the same way no matter how you move it.
Glass is a subject of intrigue for scientists as it is part solid and part liquid. Studying solid glass, scientists at the University of Konstanz have found the transitional state called liquid glass.
Why is glass weird?
The movement of matter from liquid to solid is usually an orderly process. Think about the ice in your freezer. The transitions happens when molecules line up to form a fixed crystal pattern.
But that’s not how glass functions.
Instead, glass molecules are effectively frozen in place before this crystallization can occur. Glass is made by turning melted minerals into solid, but the transition retains some properties of its initial liquid state. Glass refuses to form crystals upon the transition, and this is what has baffled scientist after scientist!
How was it discovered?
While studying solid glass, the scientists conducted an experiment using colloidal suspensions.
What is a colloid?
It is a mixture made up of two or more substances that are mixed together but not chemically combined. In a colloid, minute particles of one substance are scattered across another substance. For example, clouds are colloids as they are a mixture of water droplets and air.
Examples of colloids
What is a suspension?
A suspension is a mixture in which solid particles are spread throughout a liquid without dissolving in it. For example, mud in water forms a suspension.
While most experiments use spherical colloids, scientists used a different ellipsoidal (an imperfect, slightly squashed sphere) colloid to see if the particles changed direction at all.
They observed how each particle moved and rotated. This is when they found the liquid state where the particles continued to move but could not rotate. Had they rotated, they would have turned the colloid to a liquid state.
The liquid glass state was predicted 20 years ago but was confirmed with this experiment.
Sourced from Popular Mechanics.