Localized Deformation in Ni-Mn-Ga Single Crystals

Document Type


Publication Date



The magnetomechanical behavior of ferromagnetic shape memory alloys such as Ni-Mn-Ga, and hence the relationship between structure and nanoscale magnetomechanical properties, is of interest for their potential applications in actuators. Furthermore, due to its crystal structure, the behavior of Ni-Mn-Ga is anisotropic. Accordingly, nanoindentation and magnetic force microscopy were used to probe the nanoscale mechanical and magnetic properties of electropolished single crystalline 10M martensitic Ni-Mn-Ga as a function of the crystallographic c-axis (easy magnetization) direction relative to the indentation surface (i.e., c-axis in-plane versus out-of-plane). Load-displacement curves from 5–10 mN indentations on in-plane regions exhibited pop-in during loading, whereas this phenomenon was absent in out-of-plane regions. Additionally, the reduced elastic modulus measured for the c-axis out-of-plane orientation was ∼50% greater than for in-plane. Although heating above the transition temperature to the austenitic phase followed by cooling to the room temperature martensitic phase led to partial recovery of the indentation deformation, the magnitude and direction of recovery depended on the original relative orientation of the crystallographic c-axis: positive recovery for the in-plane orientation versus negative recovery (i.e., increased indent depth) for out-of-plane. Moreover, the c-axis orientation for out-of-plane regions switched to in-plane upon thermal cycling, whereas the number of twins in the in-plane regions increased. We hypothesize that dislocation plasticity contributes to the permanent deformation, while pseudoelastic twinning causes pop-in during loading and large recovery during unloading in the c-axis in-plane case. Minimization of indent strain energy accounts for the observed changes in twin orientation and number following thermal cycling.

Copyright Statement

Copyright (2018) American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in:

Davis, P.H.; Efaw, C.M.; Patten, L.K.; Hollar, C.; Watson, C.S.; Knowlton, W.B. & Müllner, P. (2018). Localized Deformation in Ni-Mn-Ga Single Crystals. Journal of Applied Physics, 123(21), 215102.

and may be found at doi: 10.1063/1.5026572