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February 11th, 2011 at 10:57 am

Amazing Discovery – Glass Melts When it Gets Ultracold

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Quantum fluctuations may melt glass when it gets too cold.

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Anyone who’s seen enough old Sesame Street episodes or been to enough Renaissance Fairs knows that when glass gets hot enough, it turns to liquid. Applied heat pumps energy into the solid pieces of glass, getting their molecules jiggling. As the heat dissipates, the glass becomes cool and solidifies again.

 

Most of the time, not many interesting things happen once a substance gets below the temperature required for solification. Its atoms are bound to one another, and without the indroduction of some kind of energy, they’ll stay that way. Glass, it turns out, is the exception. Once it gets close to absolute zero, it melts again.

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