Oxide thermoelectric materials are nontoxic, chemically and thermally stable in oxidizing environments, cost-effective, and comparatively simpler to synthesize. However, thermoelectric oxides exhibit comparatively lower figure of merit (ZT) than that of metallic alloy counterparts. In this study, nanoscale texturing and interface engineering were utilized for enhancing the thermoelectric performance of oxide polycrystalline Ca3Co4O9 materials, which were synthesized using conventional sintering and spark plasma sintering (SPS) techniques. Results demonstrated that nanoscale platelets (having layered structure with nanoscale spacing) and metallic inclusions provide effective scattering of phonons, resulting in lower thermal conductivity and higher ZT. Thermoelectric measurement direction was found to have a significant effect on the magnitude of ZT because of the strong anisotropy in the transport properties induced by the layered nanostructure. The peak ZT value for the Ca2.85Lu0.15Co3.95Ga0.05O9 specimen measured along both perpendicular and parallel directions with respect to the SPS pressure axis is found be 0.16 at 630 °C and 0.04 at 580 °C, respectively. The peak ZT of 0.25 at 670 °C was observed for the spark plasma-sintered Ca2.95Ag0.05Co4O9 sample. The estimated output power of 2.15 W was obtained for the full size model, showing high-temperature thermoelectric applicability of this nanostructured material without significant oxidation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)