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Formation of NaZn13-type phase in LaFe11.5Si1.5 alloy during solidification process

  • Xueling HOU (a1) (a2), Chunyu LIU (a1) (a2), Yun Xue (a1) (a2), Ning Han (a3), Hui Xu (a1) (a2), Chunwei Ma (a3) and M.H. Phan (a4)...


Low-cost La(FexSi1-x)13 alloys exhibiting the large magnetocaloric effect (MCE) are one of the most promising magnetic refrigerant candidates for room temperature magnetic refrigeration. The NaZn13-type phase (hereinafter 1:13 phase) is believed to play a key role in the MCE of these alloys. While the formation of the 1:13 phase directly from the melt upon cooling was challenging, in this paper we demonstrate that the 1:13 phase can be formed directly during solidification. We found that three kinds of solidification microstructure were formed because a competitive nucleation occurred between the 1:13 and α-(Fe,Si) phase during the solidification of LaFe11.5Si1.5 alloy. In case of a high cooling speed, a large amount of NaZn13–type phase with equiaxed grains and a small amount of α-(Fe,Si) phase were formed because of a dominant nucleation rate of 1:13 phase. When the cooling rate was small, a large number of α-(Fe,Si) phase with dendrites were formed because the nucleation rate of α-(Fe,Si) phase is larger than that of the 1:13 phase. These results revealed that nucleation rates of phases is very important to the composition formation and microstructure of LaFe11.5Si1.5 alloys.


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