We investigated the microstructure of the Dy-free high coercivity sintered magnet that was developed by optimizing the chemical composition of Nd-Fe-B sintered magnet with 0.1 at.%Ga doping in order to understand the reasons for the high coercivity of μ0Hc = 2.0 T and the improved squareness of 0.95 compared to a recently developed 0.5 at. %Ga doped magnet. The as-sintered 0.1Ga sample shows a relatively high coercivity of 1.5 T owing to the finer grain size of ∼3.3 μm and the higher Al concentration up to 1.3 at.% compared to post-sinter annealed 0.5Ga magnet that has a grain size of ∼5.5 μm and Al concentration of 0.9 at. %. The post-sinter annealing leads to a substantial coercivity increase from 1.5 to 2.0 T due to the formation of a thick and crystalline intergranular grain boundary (GB) phase containing 30-60 at.% of Nd. The trace Ga addition of 0.1 at.% improved the wettability of the liquids and facilitated the formation of thick GB phase during the post-sinter annealing. The good squareness is mainly attributed to the ferromagnetic nature of the intergranular GB phase as well as the strong crystal alignment to the easy axis. Finite element micromagnetic simulations of the demagnetization processes of the models incorporating experimentally determined GB thickness and chemistry well explain the simultaneous achievement of the high coercivity and good squareness observed in this magnet in contrast to the very poor squareness observed in the post-sinter annealed 0.5Ga sample.
- Micromagnetic simulation
- Nd-Fe-B sintered magnet