Thermodynamics and crystal chemistry of the hematite-corundum solid solution and the FeAlO3 phase

J. Majzlan, A. Navrotsky, B. J. Evans

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54 Scopus citations


High-temperature oxide-melt calorimetry and Reitveld refinement of powder X-ray diffraction patterns were used to investigate the energetics and structure of the hematite-corundum solid solution and ternary phase FeAlO3 (with FeGaO3 structure). The mixing enthalpies in the solid solution can be described by a polynomial ΔHmix = WXhem(1-Xhem) with W = 116 ± 10 kJ mol-1. The excess mixing enthalpies are too positive to reproduce the experimental phase diagram, and excess entropies in the solid solution should be considered. The hematite-corundum solvus can be approximately reproduced by a symmetric, regular-like solution model with ΔGexcess = (WH-TWS) XhemXcor, where WH = 116 ± 10 kJ mol-1 and WS = 32 ± 4 J mol-1 K-1. In this model, short-range order (SRO) of Fe/Al is neglected because SRO probably becomes important only at intermediate compositions close to Fe:Al = 1:1 but these compositions cannot be synthesized. The volume of mixing is positive for Al-hematite but almost ideal for Fe-corundum. Moreover, the degree of deviation from Vegard's law for Al-hematite depends on the history of the samples. Introduction of Al into the hematite structure causes varying distortion of the hexagonal network of oxygen ions while the position of the metal ions remains intact. Distortion of the hexagonal network of oxygen ions attains a minimum at the composition (Fe0.95Al0.05)2O3. The enthalpy of formation of FeAlO3 from oxides at 298 K is 27.9 ± 1.8 kJ mol-1. Its estimated standard entropy (including configurational entropy due to disorder of Fe/Al) is 98.9 J mol-1 K-1, giving the standard free energy of formation at 298 K from oxides and elements as + 19.1 ± 1.8 and -1144.2 ± 2.0 kJ mol-1, respectively. The heat capacity of FeAlO3 is approximated as Cp(T in K) = 175.8 - 0.002472T - (1.958 × 106)/T2 - 917.3/T0.5 + (7.546 × 10-6)T2 between 298 and 1550 K, based on differential scanning calorimetric measurements. No ferrous iron was detected in FeAlO3 by Mössbauer spectroscopy. The ternary phase is entropy stabilized and is predicted to be stable above about 1730 ± 70 K, in good agreement with the experiment. Static lattice calculations show that the LiNbO3-, FeGaO3-, FeTiO3-, and disordered corundum-like FeAlO3 structures are less stable (in the order in which they are listed) than a mechanical mixture of corundum and hematite. At high temperatures, the FeGaO3-like structure is favored by its entropy, and its stability field appears on the phase diagram.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-526
Number of pages12
JournalPhysics and Chemistry of Minerals
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Corundum
  • FeAlO
  • Hematite
  • Solid solution
  • Thermodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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