Once the bond network is known, ideal bond lengths can be calculated from the theoretical bond valences described in Chapter 3, but these cannot always be embedded in three-dimensional space without being stretched or compressed. The degree of strain can be measured using the bond strain index and the global instability index, the latter being less than 0.20 valence units in stable structures. Various mechanisms allow at least a partial relaxation of this strain, and these can lead to phase transitions and incommensurate structures.
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