A novel synthesis route for the fabrication of p-type nanostructured skutterudite, FexCo1-xSb3 in large quantity is reported. This scalable synthesis route provides nano-engineered material with less impact on the environment compared to conventional synthesis procedures. Several Fe substituted compositions have been synthesized to confirm the feasibility of the process. The process consists of a nano-sized precursor fabrication of iron and cobalt oxalate, and antimony oxides by chemical co-precipitation. Further thermochemical processes result in the formation of iron substituted skutterudites. The nanopowders are compacted by Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) technique in order to maintain nanostructure. Detailed physicochemical as well as thermoelectric transport properties are evaluated. Results reveal strongly reduced thermal conductivity values compared to conventionally prepared counterparts, due to nanostructuring. P-type characteristic was observed from the Seebeck measurements while electrical conductivity is high and shows metallic behavior. The highest TE figure of merit of 0.25 at 800 K has been achieved, which is strongly enhanced with respect to the mother compound CoSb3. This suggests the promise of the utilized method of fabrication and processing for TE applications with improved performance.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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