The University of Arizona

Smelting of Fe-bearing glass during hypervelocity capture in aerogel

M. A. MARCUS, S. FAKRA, A. J. WESTPHAL, C. J. SNEAD, L. P. KELLER, A. KEARSLEY, M. J. BURCHELL

Abstract


Hypervelocity capture of material in aerogel can expose particles to high transient temperatures. We tested some of the possible effects of capture by using a light-gas gun to shoot particles of basalt glass into aerogel at 6.1 km s^(-1). Using synchrotron-based micro-X-ray absorption spectroscopy (╬╝XAS), we find that the starting material, in which the Fe was trivalent, is chemically reduced to divalent. In addition, some fragments were chemically reduced so that they contained Fe0 in a form spectroscopically consistent with a mixture of two forms of iron carbide (cohenite and haxonite). The carbon presumably originated from organic impurities in the aerogel. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) imaging shows the presence of Fe-rich crystalline nanoparticles. A similar species has been found in actual Stardust material, suggesting that smelting effects occurred during capture and should be taken into account when interpreting data on Stardust samples.

Keywords


TEM;Stardust mission;Xanes

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