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Title: Equation of state and phase diagram of Fe-16Si alloy as a candidate component of Earth's core

The outer core of the Earth contains several weight percent of one or more unknown light elements, which may include silicon. Therefore it is critical to understand the high pressure–temperature properties and behavior of an iron–silicon alloy with a geophysically relevant composition (16 wt% silicon). We experimentally determined the melting curve, subsolidus phase diagram, and equations of state of all phases of Fe–16 wt%Si to 140 GPa, finding a conversion from the D03 crystal structure to a B2+hcp mixture at high pressures. The melting curve implies that 3520 K is a minimum temperature for the Earth's outer core, if it consists solely of Fe–Si alloy, and that the eutectic composition in the Fe–Si system is less than 16 wt% silicon at core–mantle boundary conditions. Comparing our new equation of state to that of iron and the density of the core, we find that for an Fe–Ni–Si outer core, 11.3±1.5 wt% silicon would be required to match the core's observed density at the core–mantle boundary. We have also performed first-principles calculations of the equations of state of Fe3Si with the D03 structure, hcp iron, and FeSi with the B2 structure using density-functional theory.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Earth and Planetary Science Letters; Journal Volume: 357-358
Research Org:
Advanced Photon Source (APS), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Argonne, IL (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States