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Platinum Metals Rev., 1969, 13, (4), 148

Platinum Furnaces in Lunar Rock Study

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Among the studies to be carried out on the lunar samples brought back by the Apollo 11 astronauts is an investigation of their melting behaviour and of the nature of the crystalline phases in equilibrium with the liquid. This is being undertaken at the Grant Institute of Geology, University of Edinburgh, and involves the use of a bank of eight Johnson Matthey platinum-wound electric furnaces. Twelve samples at a time will be held in each furnace for periods varying from a few hours to thirty days at temperatures around 1500°C and will then be water-quenched to maintain the equilibrium conditions established. Samples can also be studied at very high pressures, ranging up to 40,000 atmospheres.

Interpretation of the results will be a complex process but valuable information is expected to be obtained on the conditions below the surface of the moon.

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