Transport properties of iron at Earth's core conditions: The effect of spin disorder
AbstractThe electronic and thermal transport properties of the Earth's core are crucial for many geophysical models such as the geodynamo model of the Earth's magnetic field and of its reversals. Here we show, by considering bcc iron and an iron-rich iron-silicon alloy as a representative of the Earth's core composition and applying first-principles modeling, that the spin disorder at the Earth's core conditions not considered previously provides an essential contribution, of order 20 μΩ cm, to the electrical resistivity. This value is comparable in magnitude with the electron-phonon and with the recently estimated electron-electron scattering contributions. The origin of the spin-disorder resistivity (SDR) consists of the existence of fluctuating local moments that are stabilized at high temperatures by the magnetic entropy even at pressures at which the ground state of iron is nonmagnetic. We find that electron-phonon and SDR contributions are not additive at high temperatures. We thus observe a large violation of the Matthiessen rule, not common in conventional metallic alloys at ambient conditions.