Amorphous solid possess short-range order but no long-range order (e.g. amorphous silica, the short-range order is originated from the tetrahedral bonding between Si and O). Is it possible to have multiple domains with different short-range orders in one amorphous solid?

If so, should we treat this solid as a single phase or multiple phases? Can we detect the existence of multiple domains?

Relative concept: polyamorphism

(It seems that polyamorphism implies that amorphous phases can be distinct from each other.)

amorphous silica

Amorphous silica, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structure_of_liquids_and_glasses

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    $\begingroup$ When you say "amorphous solid" it means 100% amorphous. I don't know that there is a single word that means "partially amorphous and partially crystalline." // So yes some sample could be partially amorphous and partially crystalline. $\endgroup$ – MaxW Jan 5 '20 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. But what we are discussing is domains with different short-range orders that are still amorphous. $\endgroup$ – Kewei Jan 5 '20 at 20:03
  • $\begingroup$ Short-range orders is essentially what amorphous means. There is also a quasicrystal. $\endgroup$ – MaxW Jan 6 '20 at 11:50
  • $\begingroup$ According to the Wikipedia article you linked polyamorphism requires that amorphous phases be distinct from each other, i.e. "polyamorphism requires two distinct amorphous states with a clear, discontinuous (first-order) phase transition between them." So yes, the two amorphous states would be considered different phases. At the coexistence boundary in the phase diagram you may observe both phases coexisting. $\endgroup$ – Buck Thorn Jun 3 '20 at 19:06

It is difficult to give a general answer. A glass is an amorphous solid that may change its composition in a continuous way from one point to another. When melting brown bottles and colorless bottles in the oven of a glass factory, you may obtain a non homogeneous mixture, with regions more or less colored. It is obviously one and the same phase all over the mixture. But as the mixture is not homogeneous, its composition is not the same everywhere.

  • $\begingroup$ "A phase is a form of matter that is uniform throughout in chemical composition and physical state (Atkins, 2010)." Do you mean "no boundary between domains" with "the same phase all over the mixture"? $\endgroup$ – Kewei Jan 5 '20 at 17:07

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