A High-Pressure Test of Birch's Law

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Science  03 Jul 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5066, pp. 66-68
DOI: 10.1126/science.257.5066.66


The compressional wave velocities of polycrystalline NaCl and KCl have been measured to over 17 gigapascals, with the use of Brillouin scattering and the diamond anvil cell. This pressure corresponds to 40% compression for NaCl and 60% compression for KCl (including the volume change across the B1-B2 transition). The data obey Birch's Law, which predicts that the velocity of each material is linear with density, except across the B1-B2 phase transition in KCl. This deviation from Birch's Law can be rationalized in terms of an interatomic potential model wherein the vibrational frequencies of the nearest neighbor bonds decrease when going to the eight-coordinated B2 structure from the six-coordinated B1 structure.