The chemical strengthening of glass involves the stuffing of large ions into network sites previously occupied by smaller ions. Typically this involves an exchange of Li + or Na + ions in the glass for larger K + ions from a molten salt bath. This swapping of ions creates compressive stress in the surface of the glass, significantly increasing the strength of the final glass product. The magnitude of this compressive stress is governed by the linear network dilation coefficient (LNDC), which defines the amount of linear strain per unit of ion substitution. However, the amount of strain attainable through ion exchange is much smaller compared to what is expected from as-melted versions of the same final glass composition. This effect, which we have termed the network dilation anomaly, is a result of the different local environment around the invading ion species in as-melted versus ion-exchanged glasses. A remaining question concerns the nature of the network strain due to ion stuffing. Using molecular dynamics simulations, we show that the strain induced by ion stuffing is entirely elastic. In other words, when a reverse ion exchange is performed to swap the original ions back into the glass, the initial volume of the as-melted glasses is entirely recovered. Moreover, we show that the local structural environment around the alkali ions is restored to the as-melted conditions. The elastic nature of ion stuffing demonstrates that the network dilation anomaly is not a result of plasticity, but rather a failure to achieve the full amount of expected elastic strain during ion exchange. The elasticity itself consists of both instantaneous and delayed contributions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Materials Chemistry