Liquid structure and temperature invariance of sound velocity in supercooled Bi melt Academic Article uri icon


  • Structural rearrangement of liquid Bi in the vicinity of the melting point has been proposed due to the unique temperature invariant sound velocity observed above the melting temperature, the low symmetry of Bi in the solid phase and the necessity of overheating to achieve supercooling. The existence of this structural rearrangement is examined by measurements on supercooled Bi. The sound velocity of liquid Bi was measured into the supercooled region to high accuracy and it was found to be invariant over a temperature range of ∼60°, from 35° above the melting point to ∼25° into the supercooled region. The structural origin of this phenomenon was explored by neutron diffraction structural measurements in the supercooled temperature range. These measurements indicate a continuous modification of the short range order in the melt. The structure of the liquid is analyzed within a quasi-crystalline model and is found to evolve continuously, similar to other known liquid pnictide systems. The results are discussed in the context of two competing hypotheses proposed to explain properties of liquid Bi near the melting: (i) liquid bismuth undergoes a structural rearrangement slightly above melting and (ii) liquid Bi exhibits a broad maximum in the sound velocity located incidentally at the melting temperature.

publication date

  • January 1, 2014