Table salt, sodium chloride, is one of the first chemical compounds that schoolchildren learn. New research from a team including Carnegie's
The team, which also included Carnegie's Elissaios Stavrou and Maddury Somayazulu, among others, combined new computational methods and structure-prediction algorithms with high-pressure experiments to study the range of changes that simple sodium chloride undergoes under pressure. They predict some unanticipated reaction results under high pressure that could help geochemists scientists reconcile ongoing mysteries involving minerals found in planetary cores.
The team first used advanced algorithms to identify an array of possible stable structural outcomes from compressing rock salt. They then attempted to verify these predictions, using a diamond anvil to put salt mixed with molecular chlorine or metallic sodium under high pressured.
"We discovered that the standard chemistry textbook rules broke down," Goncharov said.
The well-understood rock salt, NaCl, turned into stable compounds of Na3Cl, Na2Cl, Na3Cl2 and NaCl7, all of which have highly unusual chemical bonding and electronic properties.
"If this simple system is capable of turning into such a diverse array of compounds under high-pressure conditions, then others likely are, too," Goncharov added. "This could help answer outstanding questions about early planet cores, as well as to create new materials with practical uses."
The research team also included lead author
Caption: This is the structure of NaCl3, courtesy of
To view attached photo, click here: (http://carnegiescience.edu/news/throwing_out_textbook_salt_surprises_chemists)
This work was supported by the
Calculations were performed on XSEDE facilities and on the cluster of the
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