Unlike the malleable polymers or metals, ceramics and many other inorganic materials are harder to process, because of their brittle nature and high melting points. If these refractory materials could be liquefied at lower temperatures, their fusion, molding, casting, mixing, deformation, segmentation, carving, and polishing would be greatly facilitated. Here we report a stress-induced liquefaction mechanism that transforms “ice-like” (shrinking upon melting) materials into supercooled liquids at room temperature, opening a route for processing refractory substances. Furthermore, this discovery sheds light on key puzzles in materials science, particularly how life fuse and modify bioceramics in water under ambient conditions.
Supporting Information for Supervariate ceramics: ice-like solids, stress-induced liquefaction, and biomineralization