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High pressure states in condensed matter: I. High pressure behavior of the iron-sulfur system with applications to the earth's core. II. Empirical equation of state for organic compounds at high pressures


Anderson, William Wyatt (1990) High pressure states in condensed matter: I. High pressure behavior of the iron-sulfur system with applications to the earth's core. II. Empirical equation of state for organic compounds at high pressures. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology.


Part I:

The earth's core is generally accepted to be composed primarily of iron, with an admixture of other elements. Because the outer core is observed not to transmit shear waves at seismic frequencies, it is known to be liquid or primarily liquid. A new equation of state is presented for liquid iron, in the form of parameters for the 4th order Birch-Murnaghan and Mie-Grüneisen equations of state. The parameters were constrained by a set of values for numerous properties compiled from the literature. A detailed theoretical model is used to constrain the P-T behavior of the heat capacity, based on recent advances in the understanding of the interatomic potentials for transition metals. At the reference pressure of 105 Pa and temperature of 1811 K (the normal melting point of Fe), the parameters are: ρ = 7037 kg/m3, KS0 = 110 GPa, KS' = 4.53, KS" = -.0337 GPa-1, and γ = 2.8, with γ α ρ-1.17. Comparison of the properties predicted by this model with the earth model PREM indicates that the outer core is 8 to 10 % less dense than pure liquid Fe at the same conditions. The inner core is also found to be 3 to 5% less dense than pure liquid Fe, supporting the idea of a partially molten inner core. The density deficit of the outer core implies that the elements dissolved in the liquid Fe are predominantly of lower atomic weight than Fe. Of the candidate light elements favored by researchers, only sulfur readily dissolves into Fe at low pressure, which means that this element was almost certainly concentrated in the core at early times. New melting data are presented for FeS and FeS2 which indicate that the FeS2 is the S-hearing liquidus solid phase at inner core pressures. Consideration of the requirement that the inner core boundary be observable by seismological means and the freezing behavior of solutions leads to the possibility that the outer core may contain a significant fraction of solid material. It is found that convection in the outer core is not hindered if the solid particles are entrained in the fluid flow. This model for a core of Fe and S admits temperatures in the range 3450K to 4200K at the top of the core. An all liquid Fe-S outer core would require a temperature of about 4900 K at the top of the core.

Part II.

The abundance of uses for organic compounds in the modern world results in many applications in which these materials are subjected to high pressures. This leads to the desire to be able to describe the behavior of these materials under such conditions. Unfortunately, the number of compounds is much greater than the number of experimental data available for many of the important properties. In the past, one approach that has worked well is the calculation of appropriate properties by summing the contributions from the organic functional groups making up molecules of the compounds in question. A new set of group contributions for the molar volume, volume thermal expansivity, heat capacity, and the Rao function is presented for functional groups containing C, H, and O. This set is, in most cases, limited in application to low molecular liquids. A new technique for the calculation of the pressure derivative of the bulk modulus is also presented. Comparison with data indicates that the presented technique works very well for most low molecular hydrocarbon liquids and somewhat less well for oxygen-bearing compounds. A similar comparison of previous results for polymers indicates that the existing tabulations of group contributions for this class of materials is in need of revision. There is also evidence that the Rao function contributions for polymers and low molecular compounds are somewhat different.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Geology
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Major Option:Geology
Thesis Availability:Restricted to Caltech community only
Research Advisor(s):
  • Ahrens, Thomas J.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:21 May 1990
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03182015-092735941
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8781
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:18 Mar 2015 17:19
Last Modified:04 Apr 2018 15:16

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