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Mechanochemical Preparation and Magnetic Properties of Fe₃O₄/ZnS Nanocomposite

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Powder nanocomposite of Fe₃O₄/ZnS was prepared by mechanochemical synthesis in a planetary ball mill. In this reaction natural magnetite mineral Fe₃O₄ was used, together with zinc acetate (CH₃COO)₂Zn·2H₂O and sodium sulfide Na₂S·9H₂O, as precursors for the zinc sulfide ZnS. X-ray diffraction revealed that the sample is composed of small nanocrystalline particles, containing Fe₃O₄ and ZnS. The non-milled magnetite showed distinctive Verwey transition at around 120 K, this becomes suppressed after milling, as a consequence of structural disorder and presence of defects. Moreover, the reduction of saturation magnetization from 91 A m²/kg to 69.2 A m²/kg was observed, as a consequence of the milling process. The magnetization of the Fe₃O₄/ZnS nanocomposite was the lowest (34.5 A m²/kg), due to the milling and to the decreased weight fraction of the ferrimagnetic component. Nevertheless, the Fe₃O₄/ZnS sample demonstrates ferrimagnetic behavior as well, and its structure is less perturbed by milling, the Verwey transition, although less impressive, but is preserved.
Physical description
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