Phase transformations in shock compacted magnetic materials
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Shock compaction experiments were performed on soft magnetic phases Fe₄N and Fe₁₆N₂, and hard magnetic phases Nd₂Fe₁₄B and Sm₂Fe₁₇N₃ in order to determine their thermo-mechanical stability during shock loading and explore the possibility of fabricating a textured nanocomposite magnet. Gas gun experiments performed on powders pressed in a three capsule fixture showed phase transformations occurring in Fe₄N, Fe₁₆N₂, and Nd₂Fe₁₄B, while Sm₂Fe₁₇N₃ was observed to be relatively stable. Shock compaction of FCC Fe₄N resulted in a partial transformation to HCP Fe₃N, consistent with previous reports of the transition occurring at a static pressure of ~3 GPa. Shock compaction of Fe₁₆N₂ produced decomposition products alpha-Fe, Fe₄N, and FeN due to a combination of thermal effects associated with dynamic void collapse and plastic deformation. Decomposition of Nd-Fe-B, producing alpha-Fe and amorphous Nd-Fe-B, was observed in several shock consolidated samples and is attributed to deformation associated with shock compaction, similar to decomposition reported in ball milled Nd-Fe-B. No decomposition was observed in shock compacted samples of Sm-Fe-N, which is consistent with literature reports showing decomposition occurring only in samples compacted at a pressure above ~15 GPa. Nd-Fe-B and Sm-Fe-N were shown to accommodate deformation primarily by grain size reduction, especially in large grained materials. Hard/Soft composite magnetic materials were formed by mixing single crystal particles of Nd-Fe-B with iron nanoparticles, and the alignment-by-magnetic-field technique was able to introduce significant texture into green compacts of this mixture. While problems with decomposition of the Nd₂Fe₁₄B phase prevented fabricating bulk magnets from the aligned green compacts, retention of the nanoscale morphology of the alpha-Fe particles and the high alignment of the green compacts shows promise for future development of textured nanocomposite magnets through shock compaction.