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We report the preparation and thermoelectric properties of oriented higher manganese silicide (HMS) with a composition of MnSi1.73 bulk. The grain alignment and densification were achieved by rotating high magnetic field and spark plasma sintering (SPS) techniques, respectively. The easy magnetization axis of MnSi1.73 was found to be c-axis, and the applied magnetic field of 2 T was strong enough to rotate the powder with a mean grain size of 1 μm. The c-axis of grains was oriented when applying the magnetic field, and the degree of orientation was further increased after heat treatment. However, a secondary phase that was mono manganese silicide (MnSi) was observed as a result of oxidation on the surface of synthesized powder. The electrical conductivity of the c-axis oriented specimen along the ab-plane was about 40% larger than that for sample processed only by SPS, while the Seebeck coefficient of oriented and nonoriented specimens showed similar values regardless of existence of the second phase. Consequently, the power factor of the c-axis oriented specimen along the ab-plane was enhanced by about 35% compared to the nonoriented one. The proposed approach is found to be very effective not only in obtaining the oriented materials with nonductility but also in enhancing the thermoelectricity.
Optimization of the carrier concentration is a key to improve the power factor of thermoelectricity. The carrier concentration of sintered zinc oxides was primarily controlled by impurity doping of aluminum and secondarily adjusted by defect concentration by varying the oxygen partial pressure in the range of 101 to 104 Pa. The resultant carrier concentration measured at room temperature ranged from 1 to 1.8 × 1020 cm−3, which drastically modified the thermoelectricity. The Jonker plot of the measured Seebeck coefficient and conductivity revealed deviation of the slope from k/e (where k is the Boltzmann constant and e is the elemental electric charge), which was attributed to a mobility variation with respect to the carrier concentration. The approach to estimating the optimum conductivity taking into account mobility variation is discussed. Finally, the optimum conductivity is estimated to be 1800 to 2000 S/cm for high-temperature operation (500 to 800 °C).
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