What stops flows in glassy materials?

Glasses have a liquid-like disordered structure but solid-like mechanical properties. This leads to one of the central mysteries of glasses: Why don't they flow like liquids? This question is so important that it was selected ...

Physicists observe the emergence of collective behaviour

Phase transitions describe dramatic changes in properties of a macroscopic system—like the transition from a liquid to a gas. Starting from individual ultracold atoms, Heidelberg University physicists were able to observe ...

Like fire and ice: Why societies are increasingly fragmenting

Scientists at the Complexity Science Hub Vienna (CSH) have shown that the accelerating fragmentation of society—often referred to as filter bubbles—is a direct consequence of the growing number of social contacts. According ...

Metal-organic frameworks become flexible

The application potential of metal-organic frameworks was first discovered around 20 years ago, and almost 100,000 such hybrid porous materials have since been identified. There are great hopes for technical applications, ...

Sticky electrons: When repulsion turns into attraction

Materials can assume completely different properties depending on temperature, pressure, electrical voltage or other physical quantities. In theoretical solid-state physics, state-of-the-art computer models are used to understand ...

Tetrahedra may explain water's uniqueness

Researchers at the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo sifted through experimental data to probe the possibility that supercooled water has a liquid-to-liquid phase transition between disordered and ...

New shortcut enables faster creation of spin pattern in magnet

Physicists have discovered a much faster approach to create a pattern of spins in a magnet. This shortcut opens a new chapter in topology research. This discovery also offers an additional method to achieve more efficient ...

Building walls that will make summer heat waves more bearable

With the summer heat becoming increasingly unbearable and prolonged due to climate change, the cooling load in the summertime has also been on the rise. Insulation is currently the primary solution for blocking heat from ...

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Phase transition

A phase transition is a natural physical process. It has the characteristic of taking a given medium with given properties and transforming some or all of that medium, into a new medium with new properties. Phase transitions occur frequently and are found everywhere in the natural world. Some engineering techniques exploit certain types of phase transition.

In thermodynamics, a phase transition is the transformation of a thermodynamic system from one phase to another.

At a phase transition point, physical properties may undergo abrupt change: for instance, the volume of the two phases may be vastly different as is illustrated by the boiling of liquid water to form steam.

The term is most commonly used to describe transitions between solid, liquid and gaseous states of matter, in rare cases including plasma.

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