Novel Techniques for High Pressure Falling Sphere Viscosimetry under Simulated Earth’s Mantle Conditions

Monday, 15 December 2014
Hans J Mueller1, Felix Beckmann2, David P Dobson3, Simon A Hunt3, Richard Secco4, Joern Lauterjung1 and Christian Lathe1, (1)Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany, (2)HZG Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht, Geesthacht, Germany, (3)University College London, London, United Kingdom, (4)Univ Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada
Viscosity data of melts measured under in situ high pressure conditions are crucial for the understanding of Earth’s lower mantle and the interior of terrestrial and extrasolar Super-Earth planets. We report recent technical advances and techniques enabling falling sphere viscosity measurements in single- and double-stage DIA-type multi-anvil apparatus. For the experiments we used presses with a maximum load of 250 tons and 1750 tons. We anticipate that our system will enable viscosity measurements up to the maximum pressure for non-diamond anvils, i.e. pressures up to some 30 GPa. For the development of the new set ups the deformation of the cell assemblies were analyzed by X-ray absorption tomography at beamline W II at DESY/HASYLAB after the high pressure runs. These analysis gave considerable insights into strategies for improving the cell assembly with the result that the optimized assemblies could be used at much higher pressures without blow-outs. We think this approach is much faster and more beneficial than the classical way of trial and error. Additionally to prevent high pressure blow outs the task was to make the whole melting chamber accessible for the high pressure X-radiography system up to the maximum pressures. This way the accuracy and reliability of the measurements can be improved. For this goal we used X-ray transparent cBN-anvils at the single-stage DIA large volume press. Because this material is recently not available for the cube size of 32 mm this aproach did not work for the double-stage DIA. As a very useful and economical alternative we used slotted carbide anvils filled with fired pyrophyllite bars. To improve the frame quality of the platinum spheres taken by the CCD-camera the energy of the monochromatic X-rays had to be increased to 100 keV. The resulting ascent of scattered radiation required a new design of the X-radiography unit. Our results are demonstrated with viscosity measurements following Stokes law by evaluation of X-radiography sequences taken by a CCD-camera at pressures of 5 GPa as well as 10 GPa and temperatures of 1890 K. As the first result we could increase the maximum pressure range of published viscosity measurements with dacite melts by almost factor 1.5 (see Tinker et al., 2004).