In-situ visualization of dynamic fracture and fragmentation of an L-type ordinary chondrite by combined synchrotron X-ray radiography and microtomography

Lukasz Farbaniec, David J. Chapman, Jack R.W. Patten, Liam C. Smith, James D. Hogan, Alexander Rack, Daniel E. Eakins

In Press, Journal Pre-proof, Available online 26 January 2021



• Dynamic mechanical properties of an L-type ordinary chondrite are investigated.
• Synchrotron X-ray radiography and microtomography results are presented.
• Key microstructural features are identified and linked with fragmentation and strength measurements.
• Characteristic fragments sizes for planetary-scale impact events are explored.”

“The relationship between the dynamic mechanical properties of stony meteorites and their microstructures was investigated in-situ for an L-type ordinary chondrite using a split-Hopkinson pressure bar apparatus and ultra-high speed phase-contrast X-ray radiography at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF). Synchrotron X-ray microtomography (CT) was performed both prior to and immediately following dynamic compression to correlate key structural features between the initial microstructure and recovered fragments as well as to identify the leading mechanisms for fracture and fragmentation. Real-time visualization of damage evolution in the specimens revealed the very first cracks to be initiated at the sites of FeNi-metal nodules. These cracks propagated rapidly through the largest group of chondrules (the porphyritic olivine type chondrules) along the loading direction, which led to the formation of column-like fragments. CT analysis of the collected fragments confirmed the dominant mode of fracture to be transgranular with a clear link between FeNi-metal nodule statistics and the size distribution of fragments, emphasizing their role in mechanical failure and fragmentation process. The resulting fragmentation was used to validate the predictions of brittle fragmentation models, and found to be in good agreement with the laboratory-scale impacts. In turn, these models can help unravel the consequences of impact-induced fragmentation processes that have helped shape the solar system.”