Enhanced thermoelectric performance and mechanical strength of n-type BiTeSe materials produced via a composite strategy

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Chemical Engineering Journal


Zone-melted Bi2Te2.7Se0.3 (ZM BTS) alloys are typical n-type commercial thermoelectric (TE) materials and are utilized for refrigeration and power generation near room temperature. They usually suffer from poor mechanical performance, as well as having a low figure of merit (ZT). In this work, we report an effective composite strategy to improve both the TE and mechanical performance of n-type BTS materials by incorporating carbon microfibers. The introduction of carbon microfibers in BTS effectively reduces the lattice thermal conductivity due to phonon scattering at multi-scale boundaries and due to the large interfacial thermal resistance arising from phonon mismatch between the constituent phases. Simultaneously, it also gives rise to an enhancement of the electrical conductivity, which originates from the increased carrier density without significant limitation on its weighted mobility. Consequently, a high peak ZT of 1.1 at 400 K and an average ZTave value of 0.95 are achieved in the temperature range 300 ~ 550 K, yielding a calculated efficiency of η = 9%. Moreover, the BTS/carbon microfiber composites show superior compressive strength compared to a commercial ZM BTS sample. This improved strength is highly desirable for real-world TE applications. Our results demonstrate a novel way to produce high-performance TE materials, in which interfaces with large thermal resistance are used to achieve low thermal conductivity without significantly degrading the electrical properties of the materials.

Open Access Status

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Funding Sponsor

Australian National Fabrication Facility



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