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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.
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