Abstract

The equation of state and the crystal structure evolution with pressure were determined for two single crystals of pure natural MgAl2O4 spinels with different degrees of order. The two samples studied were cut from a larger single crystal and one of them was experimentally disordered at high temperature. The two crystals, showing an inversion parameter x of 0.27 and 0.15 at ambient conditions, were loaded together in a diamond anvil cell and their unit-cell edge was measured up to about 7.5 GPa at 14 different pressures. The unit-cell volume, V0, the bulk modulus, KT0, and its first pressure derivative, K′, were simultaneously refined using a third-order Birch-Murnaghan equation of state, giving the following coefficients: V0 = 529.32(2) Å3, KT0 = 193(1) GPa, K′ = 5.6(3) for the ordered sample and V0 = 528.39(2) Å3, KT0 = 192(1) GPa, K′ = 5.4(3) for the disordered one. Complete intensity data were collected at 0, 0.44, 2.92, 7.34, and 8.03 GPa in a separate experiment. For the ordered and disordered samples the oxygen atomic coordinate u remains practically unchanged inside the investigated pressure range with an average value of 0.2633(5) and 0.2614(2), respectively. As a consequence, the polyhedral compressibilities are similar and are not influenced by the Mg/Al distribution over the two crystallographic sites. This also suggests that pressure has little or no influence on the degree of order in the MgAl2O4 spinel.

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