Abstract

The elastic properties and thermal behavior of synthetic zincochromite (ZnCr2O4) have been studied by combining room-temperature high-pressure (0.0001–21 GPa) synchrotron radiation powder diffraction data with high-temperature (298–1240 K) powder diffraction data. Elastic properties were obtained by fitting two Equations of State (EoS) to the P-V data. A third-order Birch-Murnaghan model, which provides results consistent with those from the Vinet EoS, yields: K0 = 183.1(±3.5) GPa, K’ = 7.9(±0.6), K” = −0.1278 GPa−1 (implied value), at V0 = 577.8221 Å3 (fixed). Zincochromite does not exhibit order-disorder reactions at high temperature in the thermal range explored, in agreement with previous studies. The volume thermal expansion was modeled with αV = α0 + α1T + α2/T−2, where only the first coefficient was found to be significant [α0 = 23.0(4) 10−6 K−1]. Above 23 GPa diffraction patterns hint at the onset of a phase transition; the high pressure phase is observed at approximately 30 GPa and exhibits orthorhombic symmetry. The elastic and thermal properties of zincochromite were then used to model by thermodynamic calculations the P-T stability field of ZnCr2O4 with respect to its oxide constituents (Cr2O3 and rocksalt-like ZnO). Spinel is expected to decompose into oxides at about 18 GPa and room temperature, in absence of sluggish kinetics.

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