Understanding the coercivity mechanism has had a substantial impact on developing economically more attractive RE-based (RE = rare earth) permanent materials because of price volatility of key RE metals (i.e., Nd and Dy) in recent years. In this work, we investigated the microstructure and magnetic properties of melt-spun (Nd0.8
B ribbons and annealed samples at 773 K for 15 min with 1 Tesla (T) magnetic field to better understand the coercivity mechanism. We found hard magnetic grains were surrounded by thin and continuous layers along the grain boundaries (GBs) with a high concentration of ferromagnetic elements (Fe + Co >74 at%). The obvious positive peak in the δM
plot and the interaction domain structure observed by Lorentz magnetic microscopy indicate that there is strong exchange coupling interaction through the ferromagnetic GB phase between hard magnetic grains. The annealing in an applied magnetic field of 1 T increases the remanence by enhancing the exchange coupling interaction, leading to a maximum product energy ((BH
) which is 16% higher than that of melt-spun ribbons. We also studied the temperature dependence of the coercivity in a temperature range of 300–500 K, and proposed that the coercivity of melt-spun (Nd0.8
B ribbons with ferromagnetic GB phase at room temperature was from the combination of strong domain-wall pinning and nucleation. The same mechanism works in the annealed ribbons.
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