Statistical mechanics of topological fluctuations in glass-forming liquids

Katelyn A. Kirchner, Seong H. Kim, John C. Mauro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


All liquids are topologically disordered materials, yet the degree of disorder can vary as a result of internal fluctuations in structure and topology. These fluctuations depend on both the composition and temperature of the system. Most prior work has considered the mean values of liquid or glass properties, such as the average number of topological degrees of freedom per atom; however, the localized fluctuations in properties also play a key role in governing the macroscopic characteristics. This paper proposes a generalized approach for modeling topological fluctuations in glass-forming liquids by linking the statistical mechanics of the disordered structure to topological constraint theory. In doing so we introduce the contributions of localized fluctuations into the calculation of the topological degrees of freedoms in the network. With this approach the full distribution of properties in the disordered network can be calculated as an arbitrary function of composition, temperature, and thermal history (for the nonequilibrium glassy state). The scope of the current investigation focuses on describing topological fluctuations in liquids, concentrating on composition and temperature effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)787-801
Number of pages15
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
StatePublished - Nov 15 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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