Polymerization of silicate and aluminate tetrahedra in glasses, melts, and aqueous solutions - III. Local silicon environments and internal nucleation in silicate glasses
The local, up to second nearest neighbor, around Si atoms in alkali and alkaline earth-silicate glasses has been characterized by SiKβ X-ray emission spectroscopy. Principally two types of Si atoms can be distinguished. These are Si atoms with only other Si atoms as second nearest neighbours, and those with one or more alkali or alkaline earth atoms in their second coordination sphere. The spectroscopic results indicate that the lower molecular weight alkali and alkaline earth-silicate glasses tend towards a bimodal distribution of local Si environments, which is designated Q 4-Q 0 following the assignment by ENGELHARDTet al. (1975) for silica species in aqueous solutions. From a different perspective the outcome of these experiments suggests that, though the concentration of bridging oxygens (O(br)) and non-bridging oxygens (O(nbr)) is fixed by the stoichiometry of the glass, the distribution of O(nbr) in the glass varies according to the kind of alkali or alkaline earth atom present. From observed nucleation data on R 2O-SiO 2 ( R = Li, Na, K) glasses it is inferred that a bimodal Q distribution and in particular the presence of Q 0 species dominates the internal nucleation process in the alkali and alkaline earth-silicate glasses studied. Using this inference rationalizations can readily be found to explain the observed resistance to thermal shock and devitrification rates of these glasses.