Microstructures of pressless processed (PLP) Nd-Fe-B sintered magnets with and without Zr addition were investigated by scanning electron microscopy and scanning/transmission electron microscopy. In the Zr-free magnet, huge polygonal abnormal grains (AGs) about 100 times larger than the normal grain size were generated by PLP sintering at 975 °C. Electron backscattered diffraction analysis revealed that the PLP sintered magnet had a biaxial oriented texture of fine Nd2Fe14B grains with the orientation of the AGs significantly deviated from the biaxial oriented grains. By adding a small amount of Zr, fine plate-like Zr-B precipitates with a long period stacking ordered structure derived from the ZrB2 phase formed on the growth surfaces of Nd2Fe14B grains with a crystallographic orientation relationship. There were two Nd-rich grain boundary (GB) phases, namely, orthorhombic Nd3(Co, Cu) and metastable CaF2-NdO2, which became liquid during sintering. The boron consumption associated with the formation of Zr-B precipitates increased the Nd-rich GB phases, resulting in a homogeneous distribution of the liquid phase around the Nd2Fe14B grains. Therefore, the addition of Zr effectively suppressed the abnormal grain growth during PLP sintering owing to the pinning effect of the Zr-B precipitates and the formation of a homogeneous liquid phase distribution.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Metals and Alloys
- Materials Chemistry