Abstract

The structural evolution of a trioctahedral mica from Cava St. Antonio, Mt. Vulture, Potenza, Italy, has been studied in the temperature range 100–1023 K using in situ single-crystal X-ray diffraction techniques. The sample used shows a Ti-rich composition close to the phlogopite-annite join with the following crystal-chemical formula: (K0.85Na0.11Ba0.03)(Al0.17Mg1.98Mn0.01Fe0.292+Fe0.373+Ti0.18)(Si2.75Al1.25) O10.66(F0.13OH1.20Cl0.01). In the present study, the chemical and structural changes and the deprotonation process involved during heating have been characterized. Analysis of the data showed that a, b, and c cell parameters expand almost linearly up to 823 K, while the β angle remains constant. A sharp decrease in the unit-cell dimensions was observed at 873 and 1023 K. Linear trends obtained during reversal experiments from 1023 K to room temperature demonstrated the irreversibility of these events.

Structure refinements of single-crystal XRD data collected at 100, 200, 298, 473, 673, 873, and 1023 K converged to 2.14 ≤ R (%)≤ 8.47, 2.47 ≤ Rw (%) ≤ 10.83. In the temperature range 100 673 K, the thermal expansion along the c direction is mainly due to interlayer thickness dilation. The tetrahedral ring approaches the ideal hexagonal shape with increasing temperature to match the expanding octahedral sheet. In the range 873–1023 K, a strong shrinking of the interlayer is associated with the shortening of the M1-O4 and M2-O4 distances and to the consequent reduction of octahedral thickness. Such structural features indicate the occurrence of Fe oxidation process, involving loss of structural H, which is responsible for a phase transition. Mössbauer spectroscopy supported this hypothesis.

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