A Comparative Study on the Magnetocaloric Properties of Ni-Mn-X(-Co) Heusler Alloys
We present a comprehensive study on three selected Heusler alloy systems. Ni-Mn-X(-Co) systems with X = Al, In, Sn are compared with respect to the relevant magnetocaloric properties of their magnetostructural phase transition, namely martensitic transition temperature as well as its field dependence, magnetization change, and width of the thermal hysteresis. The latter one is strongly determining the reversibility of the magnetocaloric effect. Therefore the understanding of how to tailor it by extrinsic and intrinsic factors is of great importance. Our study of the magnetocaloric properties leads to the conclusion that the width of thermal hysteresis can be correlated to the magnetization change of the phase transition. Consequently, the adiabatic temperature change under cycling can largely vary despite similar values of isothermal entropy change for Ni-Mn-In-Co and Ni-Mn-Sn-Co. This result therefore shows the importance of tailoring sharpness, thermal hysteresis, and field dependence of the phase transition to achieve high values for the isothermal entropy change as well as a large magnetocaloric cooling effect in the different Heusler alloys.