Nanostructured thermoelectric powders can be produced using a variety of techniques. However, it is very challenging to build a bulk material from these nanopowders without losing the nanostructure. In the present work, nanostructured powders of the bismuth telluride alloy system are obtained in kilogram quantities via a gas atomization process. These powders are characterized using a variety of methods including scanning electron microscopy, transition electron microscopy, and x-ray diffraction analysis. Then the powders are consolidated into a dense bulk material using a shock-wave consolidation technique whereby a nanopowder-containing tube is surrounded by explosives and then detonated. The resulting shock wave causes rapid fusing of the powders without the melt and subsequent grain growth of other techniques. We describe the test setup and consolidation results.
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Beck, J., Alvarado, M., Nemir, D. et al. Shock-Wave Consolidation of Nanostructured Bismuth Telluride Powders. J. Electron. Mater. 41, 1595–1600 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11664-011-1878-4