Enhanced magnetocaloric effect accompanying successive magnetic transitions in TbMn2Si2-xGex compounds
Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials
The lack of magnetic refrigeration (MR) materials with high magnetocaloric effect (MCE) and large relative cooling power (RCP) in the temperature range required for hydrogen liquefaction (20 K–77 K) is a bottleneck for practical applications of MR cooling systems. The present investigation of TbMn2Si2-xGex compounds (x = 0.1, 0.2) by variable temperature neutron and synchrotron X-ray diffraction, magnetization and heat capacity measurements, establish that substitution of Si with Ge in TbMn2Si2 leads to a significant enlargement of the unit cell and modification of the magnetic properties. Two consecutive ferromagnetic first-order transitions occur below 77 K with the third transition from paramagnetism to a collinear antiferromagnetic state being determined around 500 K. The resultant plateau-like MCE with large RCP below 77 K in these designed compounds offers scope for application for hydrogen liquefaction. Detailed neutron investigation confirm that four magnetic states exist within the temperature range 5 K to 500 K, with two successive first-order magnetic transitions below 77 K responsible for the large MCE. Our specific heat studies provide evidence of strong contributions from the nuclear specific heat and the corresponding nuclear specific heat coefficients of A = 430 ± 50 mJ mol−1 K and A = 418 ± 60 mJ mol−1 K have been determined for TbMn2Si2-xGex with x = 0.1 and x = 0.2, respectively. The overlapping entropy curves near these successive transitions lead to a plateau-like magnetothermal effect as well as a large reversible MCE for both samples (e.g. ΔSMmax = 14.0 J/kg K and ΔTmax = 7.6 K; RCP = 379 J/kg for TbMn2Si1.9Ge0.1 for an applied field of 5 T) indicating that the material can operate over a wide temperature range – particularly for hydrogen liquefaction.
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Australian Research Council