Direct Observation of Grain Boundary Sliding in Forsterite Bicrystals (09/08/23)

Speaker and Affliation:

Dr. Shobhit Pratap Singh
Department of Earth and Environmental Science
University of Manchester, Manchester, UK


09th August, 2023 (Wednesday), 03:00 PM (India Standard Time)


KPA, Materials Engineering, IISc


Olivine is the most abundant mineral in Earth’s mantle, and its rheology is likely to control upper-mantle convection. While the rheology of olivine is widely studied, little is known about the rheology of olivine grain boundaries and their effect on deformation in the mantle. Forsterite bicrystals, synthesized by direct bonding of highly polished single-crystal plates, were tested in this study to investigate sliding along the single grain boundary at high temperature (1300°C and 1400°C). Prior to deformation, the bicrystals were polished and scratch markers were scribed perpendicular to the grain boundary to track grain-boundary sliding. Bicrystals were deformed in shear loading between two alumina pistons in a uniaxial creep apparatus at 1 atm with applied axial stress ranging from 1 to 30 MPa. The specimen deformation was measured in real time using a high-resolution (~1 mm) linear variable differential transducer. Each test was carried out until attainment of a quasi-steady state deformation rate to determine the creep parameters. Post-deformation microstructural analysis was conducted using a scanning electron microscope and electron backscattered diffraction. Our study established that the creep-rate law for bicrystals is different than single and polycrystalline forsterite. Bicrystals are weaker and shows up to 1 order of magnitude higher deformation rates. SEM microstructures reveal the sliding of scratch markers, which is direct evidence of grain-boundary sliding in forsterite. Here we present the rationale of our research and compare our results on grain-boundary sliding in forsterite with the earlier literature.