Solids cracked...almost

The transition from the melt to the solid phase can be simply explained by scientists, at least when discussing metals solidifying or liquid water freezing to ice. But, glass remains a mystery, why is amorphous silica a solid rather than a liquid at room temperature despite its structure? Now, researchers in the US and the UK believe they can begin to explain, at the atomic level, what happens when molten glass cools and hardens. Robert Jack at the University of Bath, England explains how he and his colleagues have focused on the ability or inability of "molecules" to flow and so have obtained evidence for a new kind of sudden transition between the flowing liquid and the solid glass.