Influence of annealing and phase decomposition on the magnetostructural transitions in Ni50Mn39Sn11
Magnetic and structural transitions in the Ni50Mn50−xSnx (x = 10–25) ferromagnetic shape memory alloys are currently of interest. As in Ni–Mn–Ga, these alloys feature high-temperature austenite and low-temperature martensite phases, where the magnetic state is strongly composition dependent. To study the role of chemical ordering in fine-tuning their magnetostructural properties, they were first annealed for 4 weeks/1223 K to achieve structural and compositional homogeneity, and were then further annealed for 1 week ( ∼ 150 K below the reported B2 to L21 transition) at 773 K to increase the degree of chemical ordering. For x = 11, this anneal resulted in a dramatic change in the magnetic ordering temperature. Following the 1223 K anneal, the sample exhibited ferromagnetic ordering at 140 K. After the 773 K anneal, the ferromagnetic transition is at 350 K, a characteristic of the ferromagnetic austenite phase with 15<x<25. Consistent with the magnetization data, transmission electron microscopy examination confirms that the alloy decomposed into two phases with x = 20 and 1. From this result one can conclude that the martensitic transformation occurs only in those compositions where the single phase L21 has been retained in a metastable state on cooling.
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The following article appeared in Journal of Applied Physics 105 (2009): 07A921 and may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.3067855.