Thermal analyses of samples of thorium dicarbide in equilibrium with graphite show arrests which indicate phase transitions at 1427 ± 21°C arid 1481 ± 28°C. These thermal effects have been observed on heating and cooling both in standard thermal analysis and in differential thermal analysis using graphite as a reference material. The microstructure of thorium dicarbide samples shows the characteristic “herringbone” pattern of a material which has undergone a martensitic-type transition.
A high-temperature X-ray investigation has revealed that the observed thermal arrests correspond to erystallographic transformations. The monodinic modification found at room temperature is stable to 1427°C, at which temperature a tetragonal modification with a 0 = 4.235 ± 0.002Å and c 0 = 5.408 ± 0.002Å is formed. At 1481°C, the tetragonal is transformed to cubic with a 0 = 5.809 ± 0.002 Å. The best agreement between observed and calculated intensities has been obtained with C-C units of 1.5-Å assumed bond length in space groups P42/mmc and Pa3 for the tetragonal and cubic modifications, respectively.