ABSTRACT

We present the results of an ultrasonic pulse-echo technique and its potential to classify iron meteorites into hexahedrites, octahedrites and ataxites by determining their acoustic impedance and phase velocity. Our technique has been adapted from those used in the field of ultrasonic non-destructive investigation of a variety of materials. The main advantage of our technique is that it does not need any preparation of the meteorites like cutting and etching and therefore is rapid, easy and non-destructive. In essence, a broadband acoustic transducer is used in a monostatic pulse-echo configuration which means that both the transducer and the meteorite sample are located in a water bath and adjusted in the way that the ultrasonic pulse shit the meteorite sample at normal incidence. Then the reflected pulses from the front and rear faces of the meteorite sample are measured with the emitting transducer, digitally recorded and processed to analyze the signal. After Fourier transforming the echoed pulses from the front and the rear face of the meteorite sample, the calculated reflection coefficients yield the phase velocity and the acoustic impedance. Our study investigates a variety of iron meteorites collected in Morocco and other countries and it helps to understand how the nickel content of these meteorites affects the acoustic impedance. It reveals that the acoustic impedance of iron meteorites increases with increasing nickel content, so that a further refinement of our technique might have the potential to classify iron meteorites directly and reliably into hexahedrites, octahedrites and ataxites without destroying them.

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