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Spinodal Decomposition in Off-stoichiometric Zr0.5Hf0.5Co1-yIrySb1-zSnz half-Heusler Phases

  • Nathan J. Takas (a1), Dinesh Misra (a2), Heike Gabrisch (a3) and Pierre F. P. Poudeu (a4)

Abstract

The formation of nanostructures within the matrix of half-Heusler thermoelectric materials can be produced by spinodal decomposition of off-stoichiometric compositions. CoSb is insoluble at high temperatures in Zr0.5Hf0.5Co1-yIrySb1-zSnz half-Heusler phases. This phase can be solubilized into the half-Heusler matrix by the use of high energy ball milling at room temperature as the synthetic method of choice. The metastable half-Heusler material decomposes in-situ while hot-pressing the powder sample into a compact pellet. Despite the fact that the thermal conductivity of the inclusion material, CoSb, is very large, (>35W/m•K), we observed reduction in the lattice thermal conductivity of the composite material. Furthermore, the electrical resistivity of the specimen was also reduced due to the metallic nature of the CoSb inclusion phase. Addition of a large fraction of the metallic inclusion leads to a percolation network of the metallic phase, thus reducing the Seebeck coefficient of the composites. Electron microscopy is carried out in order to examine boundaries between the two. Changes in the thermoelectric properties of Zr0.5Hf0.5Co1-yIrySb1-zSnz half-Heusler matrix with increasing mass percent of CoSb inclusion will be discussed.

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