Texture and Training of Magnetic Shape Memory Foam

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Magnetic shape memory alloys display magnetic-field-induced strain (MFIS) of up to 10% as single crystals. Polycrystalline materials are much easier to create but display a near-zero MFIS because twinning of neighboring grains introduces strain incompatibility, leading to high internal stresses. Pores reduce these incompatibilities between grains and thus increase the MFIS of polycrystalline Ni–Mn–Ga, which after training (thermo-magneto-mechanical cycling) exhibits MFIS as high as 8.7%. Here, we show that this training effect results from a decoupling of struts surrounding pores in polycrystalline Ni–Mn–Ga during the martensitic transformation. To show this effect in highly textured porous samples, neutron diffraction measurements were performed as a function of temperature for phase characterization and a method for structure analysis was developed. Texture measurements were conducted with a magnetic field applied at various orientations to the porous sample, demonstrating that selection of martensite variants takes place during cooling.