We report a complete structural and magneto-thermodynamic characterization of four samples of the Heusler alloy Ni-Co-Mn-Ga-In, characterized by similar compositions, critical temperatures and high inverse magnetocaloric effect across their metamagnetic transformation, but different transition widths. The object of this study is precisely the sharpness of the martensitic transformation, which plays a key role in the effective use of materials and which has its origin in both intrinsic and extrinsic effects. The influence of the transition width on the magnetocaloric properties has been evaluated by exploiting a phenomenological model of the transformation built through geometrical considerations on the entropy versus temperature curves. A clear result is that a large temperature span of the transformation is unfavourable to the magnetocaloric performance of a material, reducing both isothermal entropy change and adiabatic temperature change obtainable in a given magnetic field and increasing the value of the maximum field needed to fully induce the transformation. The model, which is based on standard magnetometric and conventional calorimetric measurements, turns out to be a convenient tool for the determination of the optimum values of transformation temperature span in a trade-off between sheer performance and amplitude of the operating range of a material.
This article is part of the themed issue ‘Taking the temperature of phase transitions in cool materials’.
One contribution of 16 to a discussion meeting issue ‘Taking the temperature of phase transitions in cool materials’.
- Accepted May 9, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.