Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Iron fused with magnesium: New discovery may explain composition of Earth’s core

13.12.2005


The outer core of the Earth, whose composition until now has been a mystery, may consist of an alloy of iron and magnesium. This discovery by an international team of scientists with members from Linköping University in Sweden, being published in the journal Physical Review Letters, is, among other things, a major step toward being able to predict earthquakes.



In theoretical and experimental studies under extremely high pressure, the team has succeeded in mixing iron and magnesium.

“To be able to model what happens in the interior of the Earth, we have to know the composition of the core,” says Igor Abrikosov, professor of theoretical physics at Linköping University in Sweden and one of the authors of the article being published in Friday’s issue of the journal.


In the Earth’s core the temperature (6,000 degrees C) and pressure (3 million times the pressure of the atmosphere) are so high that it can’t be studied experimentally. However, it is known that it is too light to consist solely of iron, and among other elements, silicone, sulfur, and oxygen have been proposed as being mixed in. On the other hand, magnesium has been excluded even though it is one of the Earth’s most common elements.

“It has been thought that iron and magnesium cannot be mixed in molten form, since the iron atomic volume is too small in relation to the magnesium atomic volume. But if we increase the pressure, the volume diminishes more rapidly in magnesium than in iron,” explains Igor Abrikosov.

The theoretical studies were followed up with a unique experiment in a so-called diamond anvil cell, which can withstand extremely high pressures. It turned out that it was possible to make alloys of iron and magnesium at pressures as low as 200,000 atmospheres.

The findings may also be of great significance in the search for new materials for industrial applications.

Other members of the team behind the article “Beating the miscibility barrier between iron and magnesium by high-pressure alloying” are L. Dubrovinsky, N. Dubrovinskaia , I. Kantor, W. A. Crichton, V. Dmitriev, V. Prakapenka, G. Shen, L. Vitos, R. Ahuja, and B. Johansson. The article is published in Physical Review Letters, vol. 95 no. 24.

Åke Hjelm | alfa
Further information:
http://www.liu.se

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters
17.10.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline
16.10.2017 | Aarhus University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Osaka university researchers make the slipperiest surfaces adhesive

18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Los Alamos researchers and supercomputers help interpret the latest LIGO findings

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>