In order to realize high-performance thermoelectric materials, a way to obtain small grain size is necessary for intensification of the phonon scattering. Here, we use a melt-spinning-spark plasma sintering process for making p-type Bi0.36Sb1.64Te3 thermoelectric materials and evaluate the relation between the process conditions and thermoelectric performance. We vary the Cu wheel rotation speed from 1000 rpm (~13 ms-1) to 4000 rpm (~52 ms-1) during the melt spinning process to change the cooling rate, allowing us to control the characteristic size of nanostructure in melt-spun Bi0.36Sb1.64Te3 ribbons. The higher wheel rotation speed decreases the size of nanostructure, but the grain sizes of sintered pellets are inversely proportional to the nanostructure size after the same sintering condition. As a result, the ZT values of the bulks fabricated from 1000–3000 rpm melt-spun ribbons are comparable each other, while the ZT value of the bulk from the 4000 rpm melt-spun ribbons is rather lower due to reduction of grain boundary phonon scattering. In this work, we can conclude that the smaller nanostructure in the melt spinning process does not always guarantee high-performance thermoelectric bulks, and an adequate following sintering process must be included.
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© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Inorganic Chemistry