Synthesis and Characterization of a Magnetic Ceramic Using an Easily Accessible Scale Setup

Jakob Voldum Ahlburg, Zach Menhinnitt, Jack Thomas-Hunt, Matilde Saura-Múzquiz, Mogens Christensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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In this experiment, students explore the synthesis and physical property characterization of the magnetic material strontium hexaferrite (SrFe12O19). SrFe12O19 crystallites are prepared by a simple but fascinating sol-gel autocombustion synthesis. The prepared powder is compacted into pellets and sintered. With variation of the sintering temperature, it is possible to modify the magnetic properties. The structural properties of the samples are analyzed by powder X-ray diffraction. A tutorial demonstrates for the students how powder X-ray diffraction data from the sample combined with Rietveld refinement can extract phase purity and crystallite size. The magnetic properties are measured using a simple setup with a scale and a strong neodymium magnet; this gives an intuitive understanding of magnetism and how to measure magnetic properties. Additionally, the magnetic properties are measured with a vibrating sample magnetometer and compared to the results obtained using the simple scale method. The lab exercise can be adapted to different levels of education based on the background of the students and the equipment available in the laboratory.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Pages (from-to)2632-2637
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Crystals/Crystallography
  • First-Year Undergraduate/General
  • Hands-On Learning/Manipulatives
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Laboratory Instruction
  • Magnetic Properties
  • Nanotechnology
  • Synthesis
  • X-ray Crystallography


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