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 New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika

23.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>