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Disordered Heterogeneous Materials



Andrew J. Allen


This chapter describes the use of diffraction-based methods to characterize amorphous or disordered heterogeneous materials. Quantitative materials microstructure characterization using small-angle scattering methods is emphasized. While these techniques can be applied to all heterogeneous materials, whether disordered, completely amorphous or crystalline, the presence of heterogeneity generally implies disorder in the material system as a whole, and it is demonstrated how small-angle scattering should be applied as the principal diffraction-based technique of relevance. Details are presented regarding the use of both small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) to study heterogeneous disordered material systems. Information is given as to how the techniques should be applied in their various forms, how the data should be interpreted through the application of appropriate models, and what kind of quantitative information is ultimately obtainable. Some details are also provided on the application of “liquids amorphous” and total scattering methods to provide structure information when some short-range order is present in an otherwise disordered material.
International Tables of Crystallography, Volume H: Powder Diffraction
Publisher Info
International Union of Crystallography, Chester, -1


heterogeneous materials, SAXS, SANS, total scattering, disordered microstructure


Allen, A. (2019), Disordered Heterogeneous Materials, International Tables of Crystallography, Volume H: Powder Diffraction, International Union of Crystallography, Chester, -1, [online], (Accessed May 25, 2024)


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Created July 1, 2019, Updated September 17, 2019