A simple mean-field model of glassy dynamics and glass transition†
We propose a phenomenological model to describe the equilibrium dynamic behavior of amorphous glassy materials. It is assumed that a material can be represented by a lattice of cooperatively re-arranging regions (CRRs), with each CRR having two states, the low-temperature “solid” and the high-temperature “liquid”. At low temperatures, the material exhibits two characteristic relaxation times, corresponding to the slow large-scale motion between the “solid” CRRs (α-relaxation) and the faster local motion within individual CRRs (β-relaxation). At high temperatures, the α- and β-relaxation times merge, as observed experimentally and suggested by the “Coupling Model” framework. Our new approach is labeled “Two-state, two (time)scale model” or TS2. It is shown that the TS2 treatment can successfully describe the “two-Arrhenius” relaxation time behavior described in several recent experiments. We also apply TS2 to describe the pressure- and molecular-weight dependence of the glass transition temperature in bulk polymers, as well as its dependence on film thickness in thin films.