Iron meteorites allow us to probe the formation of our Solar System
07 Jan 2020







Iron meteorites are thought to be fragments of the cores of ancient planet-like bodies that shattered in high-velocity impacts in the early stages of the formation of our Solar System. Iron meteorites are rare compared to stony meteorites. However, as they are easily recognised and more likely to be found as large pieces, they are plentiful in meteorite collections. Analysing the residual stresses in iron meteorites could be a powerful way to investigate the geochemical and geophysical conditions during the first stages of Solar System formation.

A team of Italian researchers used neutron diffraction measurements on ENGIN–X to analyse three different iron meteorites. They achieved, for the first time, a very careful and reliable quantification of the residual stress in a non-destructive way.

Their work, published in Planetary and Space Science, constitutes a robust and non-destructive method for the careful evaluation of the residual stress of metal artefacts. The systematic application of this new and powerful tool on a selected set of different groups of meteorites would provide fundamental clues about the early stages of formation of the Solar System planets.

Related publication: “Type I and type II residual stress in iron meteorites determined by neutron diffraction measurements" Planetary and Space Science, Volume 153, April 2018, Pages 72-78, DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2017.12.015

Authors: Stefano Caporali (Università degli Studi di Firenze; Istituto dei Sistemi Complessi), Giovanni Pratesi (Università degli Studi di Firenze), Saurabh Kabra (ISIS), Francesco Grazzi (Istituto dei Sistemi Complessi).

Instrument: Engin-X​

Contact: de Laune, Rosie (STFC,RAL,ISIS)