Melting diagrams of Fe-rich alloys determined from synchrotron in situ measurements in the 15-23 GPa pressure range

D. Andrault, N. Bolfan-Casanova, O. Ohtaka, H. Fukui, H. Arima, M. Fialin, K. Funakoshi

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24 Citations (Scopus)


We report in situ observations of the melting behaviour of iron alloyed with 10-20 at.% C, O, S, or Si at pressures between 15 and 24 GPa, using X-ray diffraction in a multi-anvil press (SPring8). The degree of partial melting of the iron alloys has been quantified from analysis of the intensity of diffuse X-ray scattering of molten iron as a function for decreasing temperature with a 50° step. Coupled with microanalysis of recovered samples, the in situ observations bring direct constraints on shape and positions of liquidus and solidus curves in the melting diagrams. For the Fe-S system, our results are in good agreement with previous works. We observe that the eutectic temperature increases from 1023 K at 15 GPa to 1123 K at 20.6 GPa and that the eutectic composition decreases with increases pressure. Concerning the Fe-C system the eutectic temperature of 1460 K at 20.7 GPa falls slightly below a linear extrapolation of the previous work. In the case of the Fe-Ni-Si system and the Fe-O system, we find eutectic temperatures significantly lower than previously reported. For the two systems, both eutectic temperature and composition increase with increasing pressure in the 15-20 GPa range. Compare to previous work, we observe eutectic compositions (a) richer in light elements in the Fe-O system, with 9.0 and 10.5 wt% O at 16.5 and 20.5 GPa, respectively, and (b) poorer in the Fe-Ni-Si system with 11.5 wt% Si at 16.9 GPa. We confirm very high solubility of Si and C with solid iron, and report a Si partitioning coefficient of 1.3(2) at 16.9 GPa. The S and O solubility in solid iron appears very small. Therefore, both S and/or O could explain density jumps between liquid outer and solid inner parts of planetary cores, at least up to ∼25 GPa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-191
Number of pages11
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 2009 May
Externally publishedYes


  • Earth's core
  • Iron alloys
  • Melting diagrams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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