Effect of annealing on microstructure and thermoelectric properties of hot-extruded Bi–Sb–Te bulk materials
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The effect of annealing on the microstructure, thermoelectric properties and hardness of the hot-extruded Bi–Sb–Te materials has been investigated systematically to optimize their thermoelectric and mechanical properties. The mechanically alloyed powder was consolidated by hot extrusion at either 340 or 400 °C, followed by annealing in a temperature range of 260–400 °C. The microstructure of the annealed samples contained submicron grains with preferred (001) texture. As annealing temperature increased, the small-angle grain boundaries (SAGBs) increased because the increased amount of Te-rich and Sb-rich phases inhibits the movements of dislocations and SAGBs. The submicron microstructure led to a low thermal conductivity, for example, ~ 0.9 W/mK after annealing at TA ≥ 380 °C. The Seebeck coefficient highly depended on carrier mobility in addition to carrier concentration. For the extruded samples prepared at a lower extrusion temperature of 340 °C, the mobility increased significantly after annealing, resulting in great enhancements in the Seebeck coefficient and electrical conductivity. A peak ZT value of 0.94 and high hardness were simultaneously obtained under the conditions of hot extrusion at 340 °C and annealing at 380 °C. It seems that the combination of low-temperature extrusion and high-temperature annealing is an effective route to prepare high-performance Bi2Te3-based materials.
The authors would like to thank Prof. Takahiro Akao of National Institute of Technology and Profs. Shigekazu Morito and Hiroyuki Kitagawa of Shimane University for their experimental supports and fruitful discussion. This work was supported in part by the Amada Foundation (AF-2013007) and Nippon Sheet Glass Foundation for Materials Science and Engineering.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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