Elemental and isotopic fractionation of Type B CAI-like liquids by evaporation

Frank M. Richter, Philip E. Janney, Ruslan A. Mendybaev, Andrew M. Davis, Meenakshi Wadhwa

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124 Scopus citations


Vacuum evaporation experiments with Type B CAI-like starting compositions were carried out at temperatures of 1600, 1700, 1800, and 1900 °C to determine the evaporation kinetics and evaporation coefficients of silicon and magnesium as a function of temperature as well as the kinetic isotope fractionation factor for magnesium. The vacuum evaporation kinetics of silicon and magnesium are well characterized by a relation of the form J = Joe-E/RT with Jo = 4.17 × 107 mol cm-2 s-1, E = 576 ± 36 kJ mol-1 for magnesium, Jo = 3.81 × 106 mol cm-2 s-1, E = 551 ± 63 kJ mol-1 for silicon. These rates only apply to evaporation into vacuum whereas the actual Type B CAIs were almost certainly surrounded by a finite pressure of a hydrogen-dominated gas. A more general formulation for the evaporation kinetics of silicon and magnesium from a Type B CAI-like liquid that applies equally to vacuum and conditions of finite hydrogen pressure involves combining our determinations of the evaporation coefficients for these elements as a function of temperature (γ = γ0e-E/RT with γ0 = 25.3, E = 92 ± 37 kJ mol-1 for γSi; γ0 = 143, E = 121 ± 53 kJ mol-1 for γMg) with a thermodynamic model for the saturation vapor pressures of Mg and SiO over the condensed phase. High-precision determinations of the magnesium isotopic composition of the evaporation residues from samples of different size and different evaporation temperature were made using a multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer. The kinetic isotopic fractionation factors derived from this data set show that there is a distinct temperature effect, such that the isotopic fractionation for a given amount of magnesium evaporated is smaller at lower temperature. We did not find any significant change in the isotope fractionation factor related to sample size, which we interpret to mean that recondensation and finite chemical diffusion in the melt did not affect the isotopic fractionations. Extrapolating the magnesium kinetic isotope fractionations factors from the temperature range of our experiments to temperatures corresponding to partially molten Type B CAI compositions (1250-1400 °C) results in a value of αMg ≈ 0.991, which is significantly different from the commonly used value of αMg = 0.97977 = sqrt(23.98504 / 24.98584).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5544-5564
Number of pages21
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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