Volume 14 (2016) Issue 11 Pages 706-716
We investigated changes in the density of natural rock minerals following high-energy electron irradiation, using the plasmon peak shift of electron energy-loss spectra and transmission electron microscopy. The target materials were the natural rock minerals α-quartz, orthoclase, anorthite, albite, biotite, muscovite, and chlorite. These crystalline minerals can be classified into three groups based on their Si-network geometries: 3-dimensional 6-member ring; 4-member ring + 6-member ring; and planar 6-member ring. The metamictization rates and changes in relative density are discussed using a phenomenological model, which we used to identify the physical parameters that describe the metamictization process as a function of the volume density of Si and Al atoms, or Si atoms alone, in the crystal structures. The relative densities following metamictization all decreased by more than a few percent, except for albite, which became denser. These results suggest that radiolysis damage causes initial compaction, then metamictization, characterized by the expansion of the Si- and Al-polyhedra in the aggregate. The stability of concrete containing α-quartz, orthoclase, and anorthite should be further investigated in the light of the present results.