Helium penetrates into silica glass and reduces its compressibility

Nat Commun. 2011 Jun 14;2:345. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1343.

Abstract

SiO(2) glass has a network structure with a significant amount of interstitial voids. Gas solubilities in silicates are expected to become small under high pressure due to compaction of voids. Here we show anomalous behaviour of SiO(2) glass in helium. Volume measurements clarify that SiO(2) glass is much less compressible than normal when compressed in helium, and the volume in helium at 10 GPa is close to the normal volume at 2 GPa. X-ray diffraction and Raman scattering measurements suggest that voids are prevented from contracting when compressed in helium because helium penetrates into them. The estimated helium solubility is very high and is between 1.0 and 2.3 mol per mole of SiO(2) glass at 10 GPa, which shows marked contrast with previous models. These results may have implications for discussions of the Earth's evolution as well as interpretations of various high-pressure experiments, and also lead to the creation of new materials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Compressive Strength
  • Glass / chemistry*
  • Helium / chemistry*
  • Silicon Dioxide / chemistry*
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman
  • X-Ray Diffraction

Substances

  • Helium
  • Silicon Dioxide