Devitrification in glass-forming aqueous solutions

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The process by which a metastable glass, or the supercooled liquid obtained by heating the glass above its glass transition temperature, forms the stable crystalline phase or phases is generally termed devitrification. In aqueous-solution glasses the devitrification process has been found to consist mainly of the nucleation and growth of a large number of ice particles and is often most rapid at compositions near the water-rich edge of the glass-forming region of concentrations. This, unfortunately, is also the main regions of interest in the cryobiological application of these glass-forming solutions, and hence a knowledge of devitrification and how best to minimize or avoid it becomes important to this work. In this paper our experimental and theoretical knowledge of the devitrification process in aqueous and other glass-forming systems will be reviewed. Recent experimental and theoretical simulation work will also be discussed. In principle devitrification can be substantially avoided by sufficiently rapid heating; hence the purpose of the simulations is to allow the extrapolation of the experimental data into regions of high heating rates (> 100 °C min-1) which are inaccessible to current experimental observation but may nonetheless be useful in the cryobiological application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-244
Number of pages15
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1986

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