The melting temperature of iron hydride at high pressures and its implications for the temperature of the Earth's core

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Abstract

The Earth's core is about 10% less dense than pure iron under the relevant pressure and temperature conditions, so elements lighter than iron should exist in it. Recent experiments support the hypothesis that hydrogen dominates this light component. The hydrogen dissolved in metallic iron has a large potential to reduce its melting temperature. To estimate the melting temperature of the iron-hydrogen core, experiments were carried out at pressures up to 10 GPa by means of a new technique to determine the melting temperature and chemical composition from the textures of rapidly decompressed iron hydride grains. The rate of reduction of the melting temperature induced by adding hydrogen to iron was obtained as (1.8 ± 0.2) × 103 K per unit mole fraction. If this behaviour of hydrogen persists to the much higher pressure deep inside the Earth, the isentrope in the iron-hydrogen core is about 600 K lower than the previous estimates based on experiments on the iron-sulphur-oxygen system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11595-11598
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Volume10
Issue number49
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 14 1998
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Earth core
Hydrides
hydrides
Melting point
Iron
Earth (planet)
melting
iron
Hydrogen
hydrogen
Temperature
temperature
isentrope
oxygen supply equipment
Experiments
estimates
Sulfur
chemical composition
sulfur
textures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials

Cite this

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abstract = "The Earth's core is about 10{\%} less dense than pure iron under the relevant pressure and temperature conditions, so elements lighter than iron should exist in it. Recent experiments support the hypothesis that hydrogen dominates this light component. The hydrogen dissolved in metallic iron has a large potential to reduce its melting temperature. To estimate the melting temperature of the iron-hydrogen core, experiments were carried out at pressures up to 10 GPa by means of a new technique to determine the melting temperature and chemical composition from the textures of rapidly decompressed iron hydride grains. The rate of reduction of the melting temperature induced by adding hydrogen to iron was obtained as (1.8 ± 0.2) × 103 K per unit mole fraction. If this behaviour of hydrogen persists to the much higher pressure deep inside the Earth, the isentrope in the iron-hydrogen core is about 600 K lower than the previous estimates based on experiments on the iron-sulphur-oxygen system.",
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