The magnetic properties and morphology of metallic iron produced by subsolidus reduction of synthetic Apollo 11 composition glasses

  • Pearce G
  • Williams R
  • McKay D
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Metallic iron has been precipitated from a synthetic high-iron, high-titanium Apollo 11 composition glass powder in a furnace with the oxygen fugacity controlled by gas mixing techniques. Measurable quantities of iron, as determined with a vibrating sample magnetometer capable of detecting 0.01 wt% iron in the absence of ferromagnetic minerals, were produced in experiments at temperatures between 700°C and 1045°C, with run times between 3 hr and 95 hr, and oxygen fugacities between 1 and 2 orders of magnitude below the iron-wustite (IW) buffer curve. Such conditions of f{hook}O2and T are probably not greatly different from those occurring in a large lunar ejecta blanket. The oxygen fugacity determines the amount of iron produced for a given time and temperature, with about 1% produced if log f{hook}O2is 1.4 units below the IW buffer curve and about 3.5% produced if log f{hook}O2is 1.7 units below at 990°C. Above 950°C essentially all the iron is multidomain (>300Å) while below 950°C as much as 15% is single domain (150Å-300Å) and an appreciable quantity remains even smaller. Compaction of the sample slows the rate of reduction but does not influence the grain size of metal. The quantities and size distribution of the reduced iron in a number of the experimental runs are strongly analogous to certain lunar soils and breccias and indicate that reduction in an ejected blanket could partly account for the excess iron of lunar soils and breccias relative to the igneous rocks. © 1972.

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  • G. W. Pearce

  • Richard J. Williams

  • David S. McKay

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