Density of Fe-3.5wt% C liquid at high pressure and temperature and the effect of carbon on the density of the molten iron

Yuta Shimoyama, Hidenori Terasaki, Eiji Ohtani, Satoru Urakawa, Yusaku Takubo, Keisuke Nishida, Akio Suzuki, Yoshinori Katayama

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Carbon is a plausible light element candidate in the Earth's outer core. We measured the density of liquid Fe-3.5wt% C up to 6.8GPa and 2200K using an X-ray absorption method. The compression curve of liquid Fe-C was fitted using the third-order Birch-Murnaghan equation of state. The bulk modulus and its pressure derivative are K0,1500K=55.3±2.5GPa and (dK0/dP)T=5.2±1.5, and the thermal expansion coefficient is α=0.86±0.04×10-4K-1. The Fe-C density abruptly increases at pressures between 4.3 and 5.5GPa in the range of present temperatures. Compared with the results of previous density measurements of liquid Fe-C, the effect of carbon on the density of liquid Fe shows a nonideal mixing behavior. The abrupt density increase and nonideal mixing behavior are important factors in determining the light element content in the Earth's core.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-82
Number of pages6
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013



  • Core
  • Density
  • Fe alloy liquid
  • High pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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