Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 16, 2016
Previous Article Next Article

Glass polymorphism in glycerol–water mixtures: II. Experimental studies

Author affiliations


We report a detailed experimental study of (i) pressure-induced transformations in glycerol–water mixtures at T = 77 K and P = 0–1.8 GPa, and (ii) heating-induced transformations of glycerol–water mixtures recovered at 1 atm and T = 77 K. Our samples are prepared by cooling the solutions at ambient pressure at various cooling rates (100 K s−1–10 K h−1) and for the whole range of glycerol mole fractions, χg. Depending on concentration and cooling rates, cooling leads to samples containing amorphous ice (χg ≥ 0.20), ice (χg ≤ 0.32), and/or “distorted ice” (0 < χg ≤ 0.38). Upon compression, we find that (a) fully vitrified samples at χg ≥ 0.20 do not show glass polymorphism, in agreement with previous works; (b) samples containing ice show pressure-induced amorphization (PIA) leading to the formation of high-density amorphous ice (HDA). PIA of ice domains within the glycerol–water mixtures is shown to be possible only up to χg ≈ 0.32 (T = 77 K). This is rather surprising since it has been known that at χg < 0.38, cooling leads to phase-separated samples with ice and maximally freeze-concentrated solution of χg ≈ 0.38. Accordingly, in the range 0.32 < χg < 0.38, we suggest that the water domains freeze into an interfacial ice, i.e., a highly-distorted form of layered ice, which is unable to transform to HDA upon compression. Upon heating samples recovered at 1 atm, we observe a rich phase behavior. Differential scanning calorimetry indicates that only at χg ≤ 0.15, the water domains within the sample exhibit polyamorphism, i.e., the HDA-to-LDA (low-density amorphous ice) transformation. At 0.15 < χg ≤ 0.38, samples contain ice, interfacial ice, and/or HDA domains. All samples (χg ≤ 0.38) show: the crystallization of amorphous ice domains, followed by the glass transition of the vitrified glycerol–water domains and, finally, the melting of ice at high temperatures. Our work exemplifies the complex “phase” behavior of glassy binary mixtures due to phase-separation (ice formation) and polyamorphism, and the relevance of sample preparation, concentration as well as cooling rates. The presence of the distorted ice (called “interphase” by us) also explains the debated “drift anomaly” upon melting. These results are compatible with the high-pressure study by Suzuki and Mishima indicating disappearance of polyamorphism at P ≈ 0.03–0.05 GPa at χg ≈ 0.12–0.15 [J. Chem. Phys., 2014, 141, 094505].

Graphical abstract: Glass polymorphism in glycerol–water mixtures: II. Experimental studies

Back to tab navigation

Article information

31 Dec 2015
22 Mar 2016
First published
22 Mar 2016

This article is Open Access

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2016,18, 11058-11068
Article type
Author version available

Glass polymorphism in glycerol–water mixtures: II. Experimental studies

J. Bachler, V. Fuentes-Landete, D. A. Jahn, J. Wong, N. Giovambattista and T. Loerting, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2016, 18, 11058
DOI: 10.1039/C5CP08069J

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material.

Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

  • For reproduction of material from NJC:
    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
  • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
    [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
  • For reproduction of material from PPS:
    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
  • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Social activity

Search articles by author