Fe–Mg substitution in aluminate spinels: effects on elastic properties investigated by Brillouin scattering

  • Enrico Bruschini
  • Sergio Speziale
  • Ferdinando Bosi
  • Giovanni B. Andreozzi
Original Paper


We investigated by a multi-analytical approach (Brillouin scattering, X-ray diffraction and electron microprobe) the dependence of the elastic properties on the chemical composition of six spinels in the series (Mg1−x,Fe x )Al2O4 (0 ≤ x ≤ 0.5). With the exception of C12, all the elastic moduli (C11, C44, KS0 and G) are insensitive to chemical composition for low iron concentration, while they decrease linearly for higher Fe2+ content. Only C12 shows a continuous linear increase with increasing Fe2+ across the whole compositional range under investigation. The high cation disorder showed by the sample with x = 0.202 has little or no influence on the elastic parameters. The range 0.202 < x < 0.388 bounds the percolation threshold (pc) for nearest neighbor interaction of Fe in the cation sublattices of the spinel structure. Below x = 0.202, the iron atoms are diluted in the system and far from each other, and the elastic moduli are nearly constant. Above x = 0.388, Fe atoms form extended interconnected clusters and show a cooperative behavior thus affecting the single-crystal elastic moduli. The elastic anisotropy largely increases with the introduction of Fe2+ in substitution of magnesium in spinel. This behavior is different with respect to other spinels containing transition metals such as Mn2+ and Co2+.


Mg–Fe2+ substitution Spinels Elasticity Brillouin scattering Crystal chemistry Percolation threshold Elastic anisotropy 



We are very grateful to the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments which greatly improved our work and to C. McCammon for handling the manuscript. E.B. acknowledges support from Sapienza University of Rome (“Avvio alla ricerca 000047_13_GR_BRUSC”). G.B.A. acknowledges funding from “Progetto di ricerca Università 2015”.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Helmholtz Centre Potsdam-GFZ German Research Centre for GeosciencesPotsdamGermany

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