p-Type Bismuth Telluride-Based Composite Thermoelectric Materials Produced by Mechanical Alloying and Hot Extrusion
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We produced six different composites of p-type bismuth antimony telluride alloys and studied their structure and thermoelectric properties. The components of the composites were obtained in powder form by mechanical alloying. Mixed powders of two different compositions were consolidated by hot extrusion to obtain each bulk composite. The minimum grain size of bulk composites as revealed by scanning electron microscopy shows a 50% reduction compared with the conventional (Bi0.2Sb0.8)2Te3. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis only shows peak broadening with no clear indication of separate phases, and indicates a systematic decrease of crystallite size in the composite materials. Scattering mechanisms of charge carriers were evaluated by Hall-effect measurements. The thermoelectric properties were investigated via the Harman method from 300 K up to 460 K. The composites show no significant degradation of the power factor and high peak ZT values ranging from 0.86 to 1.04. The thermal conductivity of the composites slightly increases with respect to the conventional alloy. This unexpected behavior can be attributed to two factors: (1) the composites do not yet contain a significant number of grains whose sizes are sufficiently small to increase phonon scattering, and (2) each of the combined components of the composites corresponds to a phase with thermal conductivity higher than the minimum value corresponding to the (Bi0.2Sb0.8)2Te3 alloy.
KeywordsComposite thermoelectrics bismuth telluride hot extrusion mechanical alloying
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