Research: Mineral Dynamics

All minerals are microstructured in one way or another. While the effect of crystal structure changes in minerals is well appreciated, the impact of changes in microstructure remains hugely unaddressed. We seek to understand the role that microstructure has on the properties of minerals in the Earth. This includes the relationship between microstructure of biominerals and the physical properties of the structures that they form, the microstructure of rock-forming minerals and their seismic signatures (relevant to interpretations of deep Earth data), and the microstructures of manufactured materials based on mineral structures which may form the basis of new wasteforms for clean energy production.

Examples of projects associated with linking microstructure to global scale phenomena are:

  • Investigating the link between seismic attenuation and mineral microstructure. We have developed new experimental methods for probing acoustic attenuation in microstructured solids in the frequency range of seismic waves, and will exploit this to uncover (experimentally) the mesoscopic controls on seismic properties.
  • What role do oxygen vacancies play in determining the chemical and physical transport properties of silicates? Our preliminary experiments show that oxygen vacancies in solid can dominate the behaviour: we wish to determine how the controlling processes change as both pressure and temperature increase (by in situ study), and thus extrapolate our ideas to the deep Earth.
  • Long-term retention of radionuclides in mineral structures: what can nature teach us about the principles of making safe materials for radioactive waste containment? I shall. be exploring the structure-properties links in metamict allanites obtained from South and Western Australia, to discover how the structural response in this phase can provide lessons in developing new materials for waste containment

Older Publications by Dr Simon Redfern

Publications: 2006-Present

Last updated on 22-Jun-10 10:20