Nanostructured thermoelectric materials receiving great attention for its high thermoelectric performance. In this research, nanostructured n-type Bi2Te2.7Se0.3 alloys have prepared using high energy ball milling and followed by spark plasma sintering. Also, we have varied ball milling time to investigate milling time parameter on the thermoelectric properties of n-type Bi2Te2.7Se0.3 powder. The powders were discrete at 10 min milling and later particles tend to agglomerate at higher milling time due to cold welding. The bulk fracture surface display multi-scale grains where small grains intersperse in between large grains. The maximum Seebeck coefficient value was obtained at 20-min milling time due to their lower carrier density. The κ values were decreased with increasing milling time due to the decreasing trend observed in their κL values. The highest ZT of 0.7 at 350 K was observed for 30-min milling time which was ascribed to its lower thermal conductivity. The Vickers hardness values also greatly improved due to their fine microstructure.
The dispersion of nanoparticles in the host matrix is a novel approach to enhance the thermoelectric performance. In this work, we incorporate the TiC (x = 0, 1 and 2 wt.%) nanoparticles into a p-type Bi0.5Sb1.5Te3 matrix, and their effects on microstructure and thermoelectric properties were systematically investigated. The existence of TiC contents in a base matrix was confirmed by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analysis. The grain size decreases with increasing the addition of TiC content due to grain boundary hardening where the dispersed nanoparticles acted as pinning points in the entire matrix. The electrical conductivity significantly decreased and the Seebeck coefficient was slightly enhanced, which attributes to the decrease in carrier concentration by the addition of TiC content. Meanwhile, the lowest thermal conductivity of 0.97 W/mK for the 2 wt.% TiC nanocomposite sample, which is ~16% lower than 0 wt.% TiC sample. The maximum figure of merit of 0.90 was obtained at 350 K for the 0 wt.% TiC sample due to high electrical conductivity. Moreover, the Vickers hardness was improved with increase the addition of TiC contents.