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Effect of annealing on microstructure and thermoelectric properties of hot-extruded Bi–Sb–Te bulk materials

Wang, Zhi-Lei, Araki, Takehiro, Onda, Tetsuhiko, Chen, Zhong-Chun
Journal of materials science 2018 v.53 no.12 pp. 9117-9130
annealing, electrical conductivity, extrusion, hardness, mechanical properties, microstructure, temperature, texture, thermal conductivity
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.