Cutting Edge > Petrology > Teaching Activities > Problem set: Constructing metamorphic phase diagrams using phase equilibria and the Clausius-Clapeyron equation

Problem set: Constructing metamorphic phase diagrams using phase equilibria and the Clausius-Clapeyron equation

Mark Brandriss
,
Smith College
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This page first made public: Jun 6, 2008

Summary

In this problem set students construct a P-T phase diagram for the aluminosilicate polymorphs based on experimental phase equilibria and application of the Clausius-Clapeyron equation. The problem set uses unit cell volume, molar entropy, and phase equilibrium data culled from the primary literature. It leads students through the exercise in step-by-step fashion starting with a brief explanation of the Clausius-Clapeyron equation.

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Context

Audience

This activity would be used in an undergraduate (sophomore or junior level) required course in petrology.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should have a general understanding of phase equilibria and general physics and mineralogy.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is a stand-alone exercise.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

The main goals are to help students understand how thermodynamics can be useful for solving real geologic problems, to provide some insights into the nature and construction of P-T phase diagrams, and to provide experience in dealing quantitatively with real data.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

This activity involves analyzing data.

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

In this problem set students construct a P-T phase diagram for the aluminosilicate polymorphs based on experimental phase equilibria and application of the Clausius-Clapeyron equation. The problem set uses unit cell volume, molar entropy, and phase equilibrium data culled from the primary literature. It leads students through the exercise in step-by-step fashion starting with a brief explanation of the Clausius-Clapeyron equation. The main goals are to help students understand how thermodynamics can be useful for solving real geologic problems, to provide some insights into the nature and construction of P-T phase diagrams, and to provide experience in dealing quantitatively with real data.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students have met the goals of this activity if they answer the problem set questions thoroughly and accurately.

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