The Influence of Anisotropy and Nanoparticle Size Distribution on the Lattice Thermal Conductivity and the Thermoelectric Figure of Merit of Nanostructured (Bi,Sb)2Te3
Two factors that are important for proper estimation of the thermoelectric figure of merit of bulk nanostructured materials based on bismuth telluride and its solid solutions have been investigated. First, the anisotropy of the thermoelectric properties of nanostructured (Bi,Sb)2Te3 fabricated by the spark plasma sintering (SPS) method was studied experimentally as a function of sintering temperature and pressure. Two measuring methods were used: (a) the Harman method and (b) separate measurements of electrical conductivity, Seebeck coefficient, and thermal conductivity (laser flash method). Anisotropy and transport property values obtained by these methods are compared. Secondly, the influence of the nanoparticle size distribution on the lattice thermal conductivity was taken into account theoretically for scattering of phonons both on nanoprecipitates with different compositions and orientations and on grain boundaries. The results of estimations based on different theoretical approaches (relaxation-time approximation, Monte Carlo simulations, and effective medium method) are compared using typical size distribution parameters from available experimental data.
KeywordsThermoelectrics bulk nanostructures thermoelectric figure of merit bismuth telluride direct energy conversion thermoelectric refrigeration thermal conductivity thermoelectric power electrical conductivity
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