Second-order Phase Transition Behavior in a Polymer above the Glass Transition Temperature
Glass transition was primarily considered to be not phase transition; however, it has similarity to the second-order phase transition. Recent single-molecule spectroscopy developments have prompted re-investigating glass transition at the microscopic scale, revealing that glass transition includes phenomena similar to second-order phase transition. They are characterized by microscopic collective polymer motion and discontinuous changes in temperature dependent relaxation times, later of which is similar to critical slowing down, within a temperature window that includes the polymer calorimetric glass transition temperature. Considering that collective motion and critical slowing down are accompaniments to critical phenomena, second-order phase transition behavior was identified in polymer glass transition.