Physical properties and average atomic numbers of chondrules using computed tomography

Yogita Kadlag, David Haberthür, Ingo Leya, Ruslan Hlushchuk, Klaus Mezger

Planetary and Space Science
Available online 17 October 2023, 105799


“Micro-computed tomography is a fast and essentially non-destructive technique for studying 3D properties of solid objects. This study explores the use of a micro-CT technique to determine the physical properties and average atomic numbers of 44 chondrules from unequilibrated (petrologic type 3.00 to 3.6) ordinary, carbonaceous, and enstatite chondrites. Many chondrules deviate from a spherical geometry, implying that they were affected by strain during cooling and prior to complete solidification. The porosity of the studied chondrules ranges from 0.04 vol% to 5.3 vol%. Chondrules from carbonaceous chondrites show the highest porosity and the largest voids. The high porosity could be caused by the presence of oxidized precursors in the chondrule melt that escaped as a gas during high temperature processing and crystallization of the melt. In some chondrules, pores are associated with opaque phases, suggesting their formation either during solidification of metal phases and/or during aqueous alteration. The average atomic numbers of chondrules range from 35 ± 4 to 22 ± 2, independently of porosity and opaque content and is likely controlled by the variation of Mg/Fe in chondrule silicates. The absence of a consistent variation between the degree of deformation, chondrule diameter, and porosity among the studied chondrules from different groups, suggests that the processes responsible for the different physical properties of the chondrules are decoupled from each other and are likely universal to all chondrules.”