Superelasticity by Reversible Variants Reorientation in a Ni–Mn–Ga Microwire with Bamboo Grains

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The link between microstructure and mechanical properties is investigated for a superelastic Ni-Mn-Ga microwire with 226µm diameter, created by solidification via the Taylor method. The wire, which consists of bamboo grains with tetragonal martensite matrix and coarse γ precipitates, exhibits fully reversible superelastic behavior up to 4% tensile strain. Upon multiple tensile load-unload cycles, reproducible stress fluctuations of ~3 MPa are measured on the loading superelastic stress plateau of ~50 MPa. During cycles at various temperatures spanning -70 to 55˚C, the plateau stress decreases from 58 to 48 MPa near linearly with increasing temperature. Based on in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction measurements, we conclude that this superelastic behavior is due to reversible martensite variants reorientation (i.e., reversible twinning) with lattice rotation of ~13˚. The reproducible stress plateau fluctuations are assigned to reversible twinning at well-defined locations along the wire. The strain recovery during the elastic γ precipitates and the twinning martensite matrix. The temperature dependence of the twinning stress on loading is related to the change in tetragonality of the martensite, as measured by X-ray diffraction.