SYNTHESIS AND PROPERTIES OF NANOCRYSTALLINE BI-TE BASED THERMOELECTRIC MATERIALS FOR ENERGY APPLICATION
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Thermoelectric phenomenon is the science associated with converting thermal energy into electricity based on the Seebeck effect. Bismuth telluride Bi2Te3 is currently considered to be the state-of-the art thermoelectric material with high efficiency for low temperature applications and is therefore attractive for energy harvesting processes. Nanostructures thermoelectric materials provide a novel way to enhance thermoelectric properties and are considered to be the efficient building blocks for thermoelectric devices. In this work, n- and p-type bulk nanocrystalline Bismuth telluride thermoelectric materials were prepared by mechanical alloying / ball milling technique. The produced nano-crystalline powder were then consolidated using hot compaction under inert atmosphere. The novel processing of these materials maintained the nanostructure in both n- and p-type. Structural properties of the n- and p-types were characterized using X ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscope. These techniques proved that the average grian size of the milled thermoelectric materials was about 20 nm. Accordingly, a Significant improvement in the figure of merit (ZT) is achieved through significant lattice thermal conductivity reduction and Seebeck coefficient improvement. The maximum ZT value for the n-type nanocrystalline thermoelectric was 1.67 at 373 K while the maximum ZT value for the p-type was 1.78 at the same temperature. These values are considered to be the highest values reported for similar materials. Evaluation of the mechanical properties was also performed through microhardness measurement using Vickers micro-hardness test, which shows an enhancement in mechanical properties for the produced materials.
- Materials Science & Technology [12 items ]