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High-temperature differential scanning calorimetry was used to understand the thermal properties of Si-rich metal–silicon alloys. Insoluble metals (A and B) were found to produce an alloy with discrete ASi2 and BSi2 dispersed phases. In contrast, metals that form a solid solution result in a dispersed phase that has a composition of AxB1−xSi2, where x varies continuously across each inclusion. This complex composition distribution is putatively caused by differences in the solidification temperatures of ASi2 versus BSi2. Though this behavior was observed for several different combinations of metals, we focus here specifically on the Cr/V/Si system. To better understand the range and most probable element concentrations in the dispersed silicide domains, a method was devised to generate histograms of their Cr and V concentrations from energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy hyperspectral images. Varying the Cr/V/Si ratio was found to change the shape of the element histograms, indicating that the distribution of silicide compositions that form is controlled by the input composition. Adding aluminum was found to result in dispersed phases that had a single composition rather than a range of Cr and V concentrations. This demonstrates that aluminum can be an effective additive for altering solidification kinetics in silicon alloys.
We previously reported the synthesis of nanostructured composite PbTe with excess Pb and Sb metal inclusions. The electrical conductivity shows an unusual temperature dependence that depends on the inclusion Pb/Sb ratio, resulting in marked enhancements in power factor and ZT at 700 K. Additional investigation of the transport and structure of these materials is reported here. Measurements of the scattering parameter reveals there is little change in electron scattering with respect to pure PbTe. High resolution electron microscopy was used to determine additional information about the nature of the precipitate phases present in the samples. High temperature transmission electron microscopy reveals that the precipitates begin to dissolve at high temperatures and completely disappear at T > 619K. A qualitative explanation of the unusual transport behavior of these materials is presented.
We report the physical characterization and thermoelectric properties of (Pb0.95Sn0.05Te)0.92(PbS)0.08 containing excess Pb and Sb prepared using the matrix encapsulation technique. Samples of (Pb0.95Sn0.05Te)0.92(PbS)0.08 : Pb 0.5 - 4 at. % rapidly quenched from the melt show microscale Pb inclusions that increase the thermal conductivity while slightly increasing the power factor, compared to (Pb0.95Sn0.05Te)0.92(PbS)0.08. Samples of (Pb0.95Sn0.05Te)0.92(PbS)0.08 : Pb 0.5%, Sb 2% prepared using the same technique show microscale Sb and Pb inclusions that upon heating cause rapid PbS and Sb segregation from the PbTe matrix. This behavior significantly alters the microstructure and degrades the transport properties of the material.
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