• X-ray powder diffraction;
  • Raman spectroscopy;
  • microstructural analysis

X-ray powder diffraction patterns of n-butanol at 110 K and the isothermal transformation above the glass transition temperature of the supercooled liquid into the glacial state were recorded with a laboratory diffractometer. The starting structural model of the crystalline stable phase was found by a Monte-Carlo simulated annealing method. The final structure was obtained through Rietveld refinements with soft restraints on the interatomic bond lengths and angles. The cell is triclinic with space group P1 and contains two molecules. The width of the Bragg peaks is interpreted by a phenomenological microstructural approach in terms of anisotropic strain effects. The study of the hydrogen bonds by Raman spectroscopy shows the existence of two main kinds of hydrogen bonds in the crystal, in agreement with the structure obtained by diffraction. The glacial state resulting from an abortive crystallization is composed of microcrystallites of the stable phase coexisting with non-transformed supercooled liquid. Crystalline features of the glacial state were determined as closely connected to the microstructural description of the crystal, leading to information about the origin of the glacial state.