Glassy wisdom

It is deceived wisdom that glass is a slow-running liquid. Now, researchers at Texas Tech University have added another shattering blow to the idea that somehow glassy materials can flow. Glass transition is related to the performance of materials, whether it is inorganic glass or organic polymers, explains TTU's Gregory McKenna. He and his colleagues have now investigated a 20 million year old samples of Dominican amber, fossilized tree resin, carrying out calorimetric and stress relaxation experiments on the samples. What we found is that the amber relaxation times did not diverge, McKenna explains, which means they haven't flowed over millions of years as would be expected if glasses were liquid. The team will investigate Triassic amber (220 million years old) next.