Percolation channels: A universal idea to describe the atomic structure and dynamics of glasses and melts

Charles Le Losq, Daniel R. Neuville, Wenlin Chen, Pierre Florian, Dominique Massiot, Zhongfu Zhou, George Greaves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (SciVal)
116 Downloads (Pure)


Understanding the links between chemical composition, nano-structure and the dynamic properties of silicate melts and glasses is fundamental to both Earth and Materials Sciences. Central to this is whether the distribution of mobile metallic ions is random or not. In silicate systems, such as window glass, it is well-established that the short-range structure is not random but metal ions cluster, forming percolation channels through a partly broken network of corner-sharing SiO4 tetrahedra. In alumino-silicate glasses and melts, extensively used in industry and representing most of the Earth magmas, metal ions compensate the electrical charge deficit of AlO4− tetrahedra, but until now clustering has not been confirmed. Here we report how major changes in melt viscosity, together with glass Raman and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance measurements and Molecular Dynamics simulations, demonstrate that metal ions nano-segregate into percolation channels, making this a universal phenomenon of oxide glasses and melts. Furthermore, we can explain how, in both single and mixed alkali compositions, metal ion clustering and percolation radically affect melt mobility, central to understanding industrial and geological processes
Original languageEnglish
Article number16490
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Percolation channels: A universal idea to describe the atomic structure and dynamics of glasses and melts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this