Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


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Copyright 2015 Used by permission


FeNi having the tetragonal L10 crystal structure is a promising new rare-earth-free permanent magnet material. Laboratory synthesis is challenging, however, tetragonal L10 FeNi—the mineral “tetrataenite”—has been characterized using specimens found in nickel-iron meteorites. Most notably, the meteorite NWA 6259 recovered from Northwest Africa is 95 vol.% tetrataenite with a composition of 43 at.% Ni. Hysteresis loops were measured as a function of sample orientation on a specimen cut from NWA 6259 in order to rigorously deduce the intrinsic hard magnetic properties of its L10 phase. Electron backscatter diffraction showed that NWA 6259 is strongly textured, containing L10 grains oriented along any one of the three equivalent cubic directions of the parent fcc structure. The magnetic structure was modeled as a superposition of the three orthonormal uniaxial variants. By simultaneously fitting first-quadrant magnetization data for 13 different orientations of the sample with respect to the applied field direction, the intrinsic magnetic properties were estimated to be saturation magnetization 4pMs¼14.7 kG and anisotropy field Ha¼14.4 kOe. The anisotropy constant K¼0.84 MJ/m3 is somewhat smaller than the value K¼1.3 MJ/m3 obtained by earlier researchers from nominally equiatomic FeNi prepared by neutron irradiation accompanied by annealing in a magnetic field, suggesting that higher Ni content (fewer Fe antisite defects) may improve the anisotropy. The fit also indicated that NWA 6259 contains one dominant variant (62% by volume), the remainder of the sample being a second variant, and the third variant being absent altogether.

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