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Solid Solutions A solid solution is a single phase which exists over a range in chemical compositions. Almost all minerals are able to tolerate variations in their chemistry (some more than others). Chemical variation greatly affects the stability and the behaviour of the mineral. Therefore it is crucial to understand: the factors controlling the extent of solid solution tolerated by a mineral the variation in enthalpy and entropy as a function of chemical composition different types of phase transition that can occur in solid solutions

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M1 and M2 octahedral sites in olivine M1 forms ribbons of edge- sharing octahedra parallel to z M2 sites share edges and corners with M1 M1 and M2 share edges and corners with tetrahedra Tetrahedra remain unchanged with changing T and P, but M1 and M2 can expand and contract, and their relative sizes can change M2 is larger and more disorted than M1

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Chemistry of the olivines The two most important forms of olivine are: Forsterite Mg 2 SiO 4 Fayalite Fe 2 SiO 4 and Both forms have identical structures and identical symmetry. They differ only in the type of cation occupying the M sites. Most natural olivines contain a mixture of Mg and Fe on the M sites: (Mg, Fe) 2 SiO 4. This is an example of substitutional solid solution. The composition of the solid solution is specified in terms of the mole fraction of the two endmembers forsterite and fayalite. e.g. (Mg 0.4 Fe 2+ 0.6 ) 2 SiO 4 is said to contain 40% forsterite and 60% fayalite (often abbreviated to Fo40Fa60)

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Substitutional solid solutions Specific sites in the structure (e.g. M-sites in olivine) are occupied by either Mg or Fe. In the ideal case, Mg and Fe are randomly distributed. The probability of any one site being Mg is equal to the mole fraction of Mg in the system. e.g. in Fo40Fa60, each site has a 40% chance of being occupied by Mg and a 60% change of being occupied by Fe.

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Other types of solid solution Coupled substitution : Cations of different charge are substituted for each other. Requires two coupled substitutions to maintain charge balance. e.g. Al 3+ + Ca 2+ = Si 4+ + Na + in plagioclase feldspars. Omission solid solution : Chemical variation achieved by omitting cations from sites that are normally occupied. e.g. pyrhottite solid solution between FeS and Fe 7 S 8. Charge balance is achieved by changing the valance of transition metal cations (e.g. Fe 2+ is converted to Fe 3+ ) Interstitial solid solution : Cations are inserted into sites not normally occupied in the structure. e.g. solid solution between tridymite (SiO 2 ) and nephaline (NaAlSiO 4 ) achieved by stuffing Na into channel sites and substituting Al for Si in framework.

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Factors controlling the extent of solid solution Cation Size If cation sizes are very similar (i.e. ionic radii differ by less than 15%) then extensive or complete solid solution is often observed. Mg 0.86 Å Fe 2+ 0.92 Å Ca 1.14 Å 7%32%

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Factors controlling the extent of solid solution Temperature Cation disorder in a solid solution increases the configurational entropy: solid solution is stabilised at high temperature G = H – TS Cation-size mismatch increases the enthalpy (structure must strain to accommadate cations of different size): solid solution is destabilised at low temperatures Extent of solid solution tolerated is greater at higher temperatures

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Factors controlling the extent of solid solution Structural flexibility Cation size alone is not enough to determine the extent of solid solution, it also depends on the ability of the structural framework to flex and accommodate differently-sized cations e.g. there is extensive solid solution between MgCO 3 and CaCO 3 at high temperature Cation charge Complete solid solution is usually only possible if the substituting cations differ by a maximum of ± 1. Heterovalent (coupled) substitutions often lead to complex behaviour at low temperatures due to the need to maintain local charge balance.

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Thermodynamics of solid solutions Enthalpy H mix = 1/2 Nz x A x B [2W AB - W AA - W BB ] = 1/2 Nz x A x B W where W is referred to as the regular solution interaction parameter. H = W AA N AA + W BB N BB + W AB N AB H = 1/2 Nz (x A 2 W AA + x B 2 W BB + 2x A x B W AB ) H = 1/2 Nz (x A W AA + x B W BB ) + 1/2 Nz x A x B [2W AB - W AA - W BB ] The fist term is the enthalpy of the mechanical mixture. The second term is the enthalpy of mixing.

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Thermodynamics of solid solutions Enthalpy H mix = 1/2 Nz x A x B [2W AB - W AA - W BB ] = 1/2 Nz x A x B W If W > 0 then like neighbours (AA and BB) are favoured over unlike neighbours (AB) If W < 0 then unlike neighbours (AB) are favoured over like neighbours (AA and BB)

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Thermodynamics of solid solutions Exsolution Cation ordering

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Thermodynamics of solid solutions Entropy S = k ln w w = no. of degenerate configurations of the system For a collection of N atoms, consisting of N A A atoms and N B B atoms, the no. of configurations is: Simplifies to: S = - R (x A ln x A + x B ln x B ) per mole of sites.

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Free energy of mixing H mix = 1/2 Nz x A x B W S mix = - R (x A ln x A + x B ln x B ) G mix = H mix - T S mix

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Ideal solid solution ( H mix = 0) In an ideal solid solution, the two cations substituting for each other are very similar (same charge and similar size). G mix = - T S mix Solid solution is stable at all compositions and all temperatures. The forsterite-fayalite solid solution is very close to ideal!

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Non-ideal solid solution ( H mix > 0) Free energy develops minima at low temperature due to competition between positive H mix term and negative -T S mix term. Solid solution is unstable at intermediate compositions. Equilibrium behaviour is given by the common tangent construction.

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Non-ideal solid solution ( H mix > 0) Lever Rule: Phase with bulk composition C 0 splits into two phases Q and R with compositions C 1 and C 2. Proportion of Q = (C 2 -C 0 )/(C 2 -C 1 ) Proportion of R = (C 0 -C 1 )/(C 2 -C 1 )

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Non-ideal solid solution ( H mix < 0) Cation ordering phase transition occurs below a particular transition temperature T c T c varies with composition - highest in the centre when A:B ratio is 1:1

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