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Research Article | Open Access

Alloying engineering for thermoelectric performance enhancement in p-type skutterudites with synergistic carrier concentration optimization and thermal conductivity reduction

Zhiyuan Liua,b( )Yonggui WangbTing YangbZuju Mac( )Huiyan Zhanga,bHailing Lia,bAilin Xiaa,b
Key Laboratory of Green Fabrication and Surface Technology of Advanced Metal Materials, Ministry of Education, Anhui University of Technology, Maanshan 243002, China
School of Materials Science and Engineering, Anhui University of Technology, Maanshan 243002, China
School of Environmental and Materials Engineering, Yantai University, Yantai 264005, China
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Abstract

The enhancements in thermoelectric (TE) performances of p-type skutterudites are usually limited due to the relatively low Seebeck coefficients owing to the higher carrier concentration and more impurity phases induced by inherent structural instability of a Fe-based skutterudite. As shown in this study, alloying engineering of Ni doping at Fe sites in a p-type CeFe3.8Co0.2Sb12 skutterudite can not only reduce the impurity phases with high thermal conductivity but also regulate the carrier concentration, and thus significantly increase the Seebeck coefficient. The thermal conductivity was largely suppressed due to the enhanced point defect phonon scattering and decreased hole concentration. As a result, a TE figure of merit ZT of the CeFe3.5Ni0.3Co0.2Sb12 sample reached 0.8, which is approximately 50% higher than that of a Ni-free sample. Appropriate Ni doping can maintain a high ZT at a high temperature by controlling the reduction in a band gap. Therefore, a high average ZT close to 0.8 at 650–800 K for CeFe3.5Ni0.3Co0.2Sb12 was obtained, which was comparable to or even higher than those of the reported Ce-filled Fe-based skutterudites due to the synergistic optimization of electrical and thermal performances. This study provides a strategy to synergistically optimize electrical–thermal performances of the p-type skutterudites by alloying engineering.

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Journal of Advanced Ceramics
Pages 539-552
Cite this article:
Liu Z, Wang Y, Yang T, et al. Alloying engineering for thermoelectric performance enhancement in p-type skutterudites with synergistic carrier concentration optimization and thermal conductivity reduction. Journal of Advanced Ceramics, 2023, 12(3): 539-552. https://doi.org/10.26599/JAC.2023.9220702

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Received: 21 August 2022
Revised: 29 November 2022
Accepted: 02 December 2022
Published: 15 February 2023
© The Author(s) 2022.

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