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Structural characterization of the MnFePSi powder is reported. The rare-earth-free magnetocaloric material was prepared by ball milling and solid-state synthesis. X-ray diffraction data were collected in a wide temperature range across the magnetoelasticphase transition. The lattice parameters and volume fractions of the paramagnetic and ferromagnetic phases were determined as functions of temperature using Rietveld fitting. The virgin effect (a delay of the phase transition on first cooling) and associated variation of lattice parameters are analyzed on the assumption of elastic constraints imposed on the paramagnetic phase by the defect structure. A simple Landau model with magnetoelastic coupling illustrates the observed first-order behavior.


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