High-Temperature Creep of Fine-Grained Anorthite Aggregate

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Kosuke Yabe, Sanae Koizumi and Takehiko Hiraga, Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Rheology of the lower crust has often been compared to the creep properties of polycrystalline anorthite. Samples that have been used in previous studies (Dimanov et al., 1999; Rybacki and Dresen, 2000) were prepared through crystallization of anorthite glass which can remain in the experiment and also contain some impurities such as absorbed water, TiO2, MgO and Fe2O3. In this study, we synthesized genuinely pure polycrystalline anorthite using the technique that does not allow the contamination of water and glass phase. Also, we prepared anorthite aggregates with glass phase and/or a small amount (1wt%) of MgO to investigate the creep properties of pure and impure anorthite aggregates.

 Pure anorthite powders were prepared through high temperature reaction of highly pure and nano-sized powders of CaCO3, Al2O3 and SiO2 and then they were vacuum sintered (Koizumi et al., 2010). For MgO doping, we added Mg(OH)2powders at the synthesis of anorthite powders. Glass phase was introduced to the samples by sintering above melting temperature and subsequent quenching. Constant load tests under 1 atmosphere were performed at temperatures ranging from 1150 to 1380˚C and stresses of 10 to 120 MPa. We measured Arithmetic mean grain size of specimens by microstructural observations using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) before and after creep tests.

 Grain sizes of all the specimens were around 1 μm before and after the creep test. Log stress versus log strain rate showed a linear relationship where its slope gave a stress exponent, n of 1, indicating that all the samples were deformed under diffusion creep. Anorthite containing MgO and glass phase were more than two and one orders of magnitude weaker than genuinely pure anorthite aggregates, respectively. Further, our pure aggregate exhibited three orders of magnitude lager strength compared to the “pure” aggregate used in previous studies. These results indicate that a small amount of glass and/or impurities including water have a great influence on the strength of polycrystalline anorthite aggregates.