Magnetic behavior of metastable fcc Fe-Cu after thermal treatments

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A ferromagnetic and supersaturated fcc Fe_51Cu_49 solid solution has been obtained by mechanical alloying. After subsequent thermal treatments the fcc phase undergoes a spinodal decomposition which finally, at 780 K, yields a mixture of fcc and bcc phases. In this work, a systematic magnetic study is carried out on samples at diferent decomposition states in order to determine the process of transformation into the stable phases. We observe a 20% maximum diminution on the magnetic moment with increasing temperatures of the thermal treatment. The Mössbauer spectrum taken at 8 K shows that 20% of the Fe atoms are in a nonferromagnetic state. On the other hand, upon heating up to 723 K the roomtemperature coercive field increases dramatically to 640 Oe, and after cooling down to 10 K it decreases to 270 Oe. Deviations from the T law in the temperature dependence of the magnetization have been observed. This behavior is explained by fluctuations in composition due to the spinodal decomposition, which lead to fluctuations of the magnetic order parameters, i.e., magnetic moment and Curie temperature.
©1993 The American Physical Society. The authors wish to thank Professor N. Garcia for useful comments, the Spanish CICYT for financial support under Grant No. MAT92-0491, MAT92-0405, and MAT90- 0877, and Comunidad de Madrid C175/91.
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