Effect of Processing Route on the Microstructure and Thermoelectric Properties of Bismuth Telluride-Based Alloys
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Considerable work has been done to engineer materials with high efficiencies of thermoelectric heat-to-electricity conversion and the mechanical strength necessary to withstand the demands of practical applications. In particular, in the bismuth telluride system, extrusion pressing has been found to be effective for improving the mechanical strength of alloys via grain refinement. We review some of the literature relating to processing approaches for the bismuth telluride system. We also present preliminary data for a series of samples obtained by incorporating C60 via ball milling and spark plasma sintering into a matrix consisting of a (Bi,Sb)2Te3 alloy, with a focus on the texture of the composites and its relation to thermoelectric transport properties, in comparison to the parent material. The viability of improving the thermoelectric performance of bismuth telluride alloys by the insertion of nanoparticles into a composite is also considered.
KeywordsThermoelectric composite bismuth telluride
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The authors acknowledge support from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, through a collaborative research and development contract with Universal Technologies Corporation (UTC-Air Force/0978-205-2006541). Special thanks are extended to Dr. Jeff Sharp and Marlow Industries for supplying the bismuth telluride source material. We also acknowledge Dr. Ayman Salem and Mr. Fred Meisenkothen, for their valuable assistance with the OIM characterization, and Mr. Andrew Blankemeier, for assistance with the SPS.
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