Europhys. Lett.
Volume 67, Number 2, July 2004
Page(s) 165 - 171
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 01 July 2004
Europhys. Lett., 67 (2) , pp. 165-171 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-10284-x

Cell theory for liquid solids and glasses: From local packing configurations to global complex behaviors

T. Aste1 and A. Coniglio2

1  Applied Mathematics, RSPhysSE, ANU - 0200 Canberra ACT, Australia
2  Dipartimento di Fisica, Università "Federico II", INFM and INFN Napoli Via Cintia, 80126 Napoli, Italy

(Received 2 October 2003; accepted in final form 14 May 2004)

We develop a novel approach that combines the ideas of inherent structures, free-volume theory and geometrical packing properties to derive a general theory to understanding the complex dynamics of glass-forming liquids, granular packings and amorphous solids. We show that the thermodynamical properties of these systems can be retrieved from the study of geometrical and topological properties of local configurations only. When applied to hard-sphere systems, the present theory describes the critical approach toward the random close-packing density with the configurational entropy that approaches zero, and the $\alpha$-relaxation time that diverges according to the Vogel-Fulcher behavior following also the Adam-Gibbs relation. The equation of state derived for the stable fluid, the metastable fluid, and for the crystalline and amorphous solids, results in good quantitative agreement with the data available in the literature.

05.20.-y - Classical statistical mechanics.
61.43.Fs - Structure of solids and liquids; cristallography: Glasses.

© EDP Sciences 2004