An electrospray technique for hyperquenched glass calorimetry studies: Propylene glycol and di-n-butyl phthalate

Li Min Wang, Steve Borick, Charles Angell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


We describe an electrospray technique for in situ preparation, for differential scanning calorimetry study, of samples of molecular liquids quenched into the glassy state on extremely short time scales (hyperquenched). We study the cases of a hydrogen-bonded liquid, propylene glycol, PG and a Van der Waals liquid, di-n-butyl phthalate DBP. Using a fictive temperature method of obtaining the temperature dependence of enthalpy relaxation, we show that the electrospray method yields quenching rates of ∼105 K/s, while the more common method, dropping a sealed pan of sample into liquid nitrogen, yields only 120 K/s. These hyperquenched samples start to relax, exothermically, far below the glass temperature, at a temperature (0.75Tg) where the thermal energy permits escape from the shallow traps in which the system becomes localized during hyperquenching. This permits estimation of the trap depths, which are then compared with the activation energy estimated from the fictive temperature of the glass and the relaxation time at the fictive temperature. The trap depth in molar energy units is compared with the 'height of the landscape' for PG, the quasi-lattice energy of the liquid based on the enthalpy of vaporization, and the single molecule activation energy for diffusion in crystals. The findings are consistent with the mechanism of relaxation invoked in a current model of relaxation in glassforming liquids. In the case of di-n-butyl phthalate we investigate the additional question of sub-Tg annealing effects. We find the 'shadow' glass transition, (an annealing prepeak) seen previously only in multicomponent mineral and metallic glasses. The phenomenon is important for understanding microheterogeneities in viscous liquid structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3829-3837
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Non-Crystalline Solids
Issue number41-43
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007


  • Calorimetry
  • Enthalpy relaxation
  • Fragility
  • Glass transition
  • Structural relaxation
  • Thermodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry


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