Active magnetic regenerator cycles: impacts of hysteresis in MnFeP1-x(As/Si)x




Govindappa, Premakumara

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Magnetocaloric materials with first-order magnetic (FOM) phase transitions are of interest as low-cost working materials in magnetic cycles. Hysteresis is a property associated with first order transitions, and is undesirable as it can reduce performance. Devices using FOMs in active magnetic refrigeration have shown performance comparable to more expensive second-order materials, so some degree of hysteresis appears to be acceptable; however, the amount of hysteresis that may be tolerated is still an unanswered question. Among the FOM, the family of MnP-based is one of the promising materials for magnetic heat pump applications near room temperature. The present study describes the experimental investigation of a single-layer MnFeP1-xSix active magnetic regenerator (AMR), under different test conditions and following a protocol of heating and cooling processes. The results for the FOM are compared with a Gd AMR that is experimentally tested following the same protocol, with the objective to study the irreversibilities associated with FOM. The experimental tests are performed in a PM I test apparatus at a fixed displaced volume of 5.09 cm3 and a fixed operating frequency of 1 Hz. The results indicated a significant impact of the hysteresis on the heating and cooling temperature span for FOM regenerator. For certain operating conditions, multiple points of equilibrium (MPE) exist for a fixed hot rejection temperature. It is shown that the existence of MPEs can affect the performance of an AMR significantly for certain operating conditions. The present work advances our understanding since the combined hysteresis and MPE are two significant features which can impact layered AMR performance using MnFeP1-xAsx FOM by systematic experimental testing. With this objective, three multilayer MnFeP1-xAsx FOM regenerator beds are experimentally characterized under a range of applied loads and rejection temperatures. Thermal performance and the impacts of MPE are evaluated via heating and cooling experiments where the rejection (hot side) temperature is varied in a range from 283 K to 300 K. With fixed operating conditions, we find multiple points of equilibrium for steady-state spans as a function of warm rejection temperature. The results indicate a significant impact of MPE on the heating and cooling temperature span for multilayer MnFeP1-xAsx FOM regenerator. Unlike single material FOM tests where MPEs tend to disappear as load is increased (or span reduced), with the layered AMRs, MPEs can be significantly even with small temperature span conditions. A third experimental study examines the performance of MnFeP1-xAsx multilayer active magnetic regenerators. Five different matrices are tested: (i) one with three layers; (ii) one with six layers; and (iii) three, eight layer regenerators where the layer thickness is varied. The tests are performed using a dual regenerator bespoke test apparatus based on nested Halbach permanent magnets (PM II test apparatus). Operating variables include displaced volume (3.8 - 12.65 cm3), operating frequency (0.5 - 0.8 Hz) and hot-side rejection temperature (293-313 K).The results are mainly reported in terms of zero net load temperature span as a function of rejection temperature; a few tests with non-zero applied load are also presented. A maximum temperature span of 32 K is found for an 8-layer regenerator, which is similar to a previous work performed with gadolinium in the same experimental apparatus. A 1D active magnetic regenerator model accounting for thermal and magnetic hysteresis is developed and compared to experimental data for both a Gd-based and MnFeP1-xSix based AMR. Magnetic and thermal hysteresis are quantified using measured data for magnetization and specific heat under isothermal and isofield warming and cooling processes. Hysteresis effects are then incorporated in the model as irreversible work and reduced adiabatic temperature change. Model results are compared to measured temperature spans for regenerators operating with different thermal loads. Simulated results for temperature span as a function of cooling power and rejection temperature show good agreement with experimental data. The irreversible work due to hysteresis is found to have a small impact on predicted spans, indicating that useful cooling power is well predicted using cyclic measurements of adiabatic temperature change.



active magnetic regenerator, hysteresis, first order material, magnetic refrigeration, layering