Pyrrhotite

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Pyrrhotite
Pyrrhotite Mexique.jpg
Pyrrhotite – Santa Eulalia Mine, Chihuahua, Mexico (7,5x7cm).
General
Category Mineral
Formula
(repeating unit)
Fe1-xS (x = 0 to 0.2)
Strunz classification 02.CC.10
Crystal symmetry Monoclinic prismatic
H-M symbol: (2/m)
Space group: A2/a
Unit cell a = 11.88 Å, b = 6.87 Å, c = 22.79 Å; β = 90.47° Z = 26
Identification
Color Bronze, dark brown
Crystal habit Tabular or prismatic in hexagonal prisms; massive to granular
Crystal system Monoclinic, with hexagonal polytypes
Cleavage Absent
Fracture Uneven
Mohs scale hardness 3.5 – 4.5
Luster Metallic
Streak Dark grey – black
Specific gravity 4.58 – 4.65, average = 4.61
Refractive index Opaque
Fusibility 3
Solubility Soluble in hydrochloric acid
Other characteristics Weakly magnetic, strongly magnetic on heating; non-luminescent, non-radioactive
References [1][2][3]

Pyrrhotite is an iron sulfide mineral with the formula Fe(1-x)S (x = 0 to 0.2). It is a nonstoichiometric variant of FeS, the mineral known as troilite. Pyrrhotite is also called magnetic pyrite, because the color is similar to pyrite and it is weakly magnetic. The magnetism decreases as the iron content decreases, and troilite is non-magnetic.[4][page needed]

Structure[edit]

NiAs structure of basic pyrrhotite-1C

Pyrrhotite exist as a number of polytypes of hexagonal or monoclinic crystal symmetry; several polytypes often occur within the same specimen. Their structure is based on the NiAs unit cell. As such, Fe occupies an octahedral site and the sulfide centers occupy trigonal prismatic sites.[5][page needed]

Materials with the NiAs structure often are non-stoichiometric because they lack up to 1/8th fraction of the metal ions, creating vacancies. One of such structures is pyrrhotite-4C (Fe7S8). Here "4" indicates that iron vacancies define a superlattice that is 4 times larger than the unit cell in the "C" direction. The C direction is conventionally chosen parallel to the main symmetry axis of the crystal; this direction usually corresponds to the largest lattice spacing. Other polytypes include: pyrrhotite-5C (Fe9S10), 6C (Fec11S12), 7C (Fe9S10) and 11C (Fe10S11). Every polytype can have monoclinic (M) or hexagonal (H) symmetry, and therefore some sources label them, for example, not as 6C, but 6H or 6M depending on the symmetry.[1][6] The monoclinic forms are stable at temperatures below 254 °C, whereas the hexagonal forms are stable above that temperature. The exception is for those with high iron content, close to the troilite composition (47 to 50% atomic percent iron) which exhibit hexagonal symmetry.[7]

Magnetic properties[edit]

The ideal FeS lattice, such as that of troilite, is non-magnetic. Magnetic properties vary with Fe content. More Fe-rich, hexagonal pyrrhotites are antiferromagnetic. However, the Fe-deficient, monoclinic Fe7S8 is ferrimagnetic[8] The ferromagnetism which is widely observed in pyrrhotite is therefore attributed to the presence of relatively large concentrations of iron vacancies (up to 20%) in the crystal structure. Vacancies lower the crystal symmetry. Therefore, monoclinic forms of pyrrhotite are in general more defect-rich than the more symmetrical hexagonal forms, and thus are more magnetic.[9] Upon heating to 320 °C, pyrrhotite loses its magnetism, but also starts decomposing to magnetite. The saturation magnetization of pyrrhotite is 0.12 tesla.[10]

Occurrence[edit]

Pyrrhotite is a rather common trace constituent of mafic igneous rocks especially norites. It occurs as segregation deposits in layered intrusions associated with pentlandite, chalcopyrite and other sulfides. It is an important constituent of the Sudbury intrusion where it occurs in masses associated with copper and nickel mineralisation.[7] It also occurs in pegmatites and in contact metamorphic zones. Pyrrhotite is often accompanied by pyrite, marcasite and magnetite. Pyrrhotite does not have specific applications. It is mined primarily because it is associated with pentlandite, sulfide mineral that can contain significant amounts of nickel and cobalt.[1]

Etymology and history[edit]

The name pyrrhotite is derived from Greek pyrrhos, flame-colored.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Pyrrhotite". Mindat.org. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  2. ^ "Pyrrhotite" (PDF). Rruff.geo.arizona.edu. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  3. ^ "Pyrrhotite Mineral Data". Webmineral.com. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  4. ^ Vaughan, D. J.; Craig, J. R. "Mineral Chemistry of Metal Sulfides" Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 1978. ISBN 0521214890.[page needed]
  5. ^ Shriver, D. F.; Atkins, P. W.; Overton, T. L.; Rourke, J. P.; Weller, M. T.; Armstrong, F. A. "Inorganic Chemistry" W. H. Freeman, New York, 2006. ISBN 0-7167-4878-9.[page needed]
  6. ^ Hubert Lloyd Barnes (1997). Geochemistry of hydrothermal ore deposits. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 382–390. ISBN 0-471-57144-X. 
  7. ^ a b Klein, Cornelis and Cornelius S. Hurlbut, Jr., Manual of Mineralogy, Wiley, 20th ed, 1985, pp. 278-9 ISBN 0-471-80580-7
  8. ^ Sagnotti, L., 2007, Iron Sulfides; in: Encyclopedia of Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism; (Editors David Gubbins and Emilio Herrero-Bervera), Springer, 1054 pp., p. 454-459.
  9. ^ Suna Atak, Güven Önal, Mehmet Sabri Çelik (1998). Innovations in Mineral and Coal Processing. Taylor & Francis. p. 131. ISBN 90-5809-013-2. 
  10. ^ Jan Svoboda (2004). Magnetic techniques for the treatment of materials. Springer. p. 33. ISBN 1-4020-2038-4. 

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