Glass is one of the hardest materials, but it is also easy to break. If glass were less brittle, we could produce stronger and more durable glass products, so it's important to understand how glass breaks. In life, breaking glass seems like an instantaneous task, but when we consider this problem from the point of view of physics, breaking glass turns out to be a very complex process. According to the classical theory, glass breaks due to the breaking of atomic bonds. However, this theory has not been accepted by all scientists. Some scientists believe that when breaking traditional glass, plastic motion can also occur on a microscopic scale - when an external force acts on the glass, the microscopic structure inside the glass does not immediately move, but waits for the external force to increase to a certain level. It begins to move when it is in a horizontal position. Of course, the "plastic motion theory" has not been widely accepted, so in order to clarify this problem, scientists from the Institute of Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have launched a new study to observe internal changes. glass when it breaks.
They used a material called "metallic glass" in their research, which is usually made by rapidly cooling molten metal and is an ideal model for studying how glass breaks. Because the fracture surface of metallic glasses can have rich, multi-scale patterns, it is useful for scientists to study how fracture occurs. By squeezing out metallic glass, observing it through a special microscope and measuring the cracks in the metallic glass, scientists have found that during the destruction process, nanosized pores first appear in the metallic glass, and then these scattered pores collect and grow until until cracks form, showing that metallic glasses do indeed undergo plastic motion on a microscopic scale. Moreover, scientists have discovered such a mechanism of destruction in other types of glass, which once again confirmed the "theory of plastic activity." The study ended a longstanding controversy in the scientific community and helped scientists develop new types of glass. Maybe in the future we won't have to worry about glass falling to the floor and breaking.