In this study, an oxide reduction process and a reduction-sintering process were employed to synthesize a thermoelectric alloy from three thermoelectric composite oxide powders, and the thermoelectric properties were investigated as a function of the milling duration. Fine grain sizes were analyzed by via X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy, to investigate the influence of the milling duration on the synthesized samples. It was found that microstructural changes, the Seebeck coefficient, and the electrical resistivity of the compounds were highly dependent on the sample milling duration. Additionally, the carrier concentration considerably increased in the samples milled for 6 h; this was attributed to the formation of antisite defects introduced by the accumulated thermal energy. Moreover, the highest value of ZT (=1.05) was achieved at 373K by the 6-h milled samples. The temperature at which the ZT value maximized varied according to the milling duration, which implies that the milling duration of the three thermoelectric composite oxide powders should be carefully optimized for their effective application.
In this study, the effect of electroless Pd-P plating on the bonding strength of the Bi-Te thermoelectric elements was investigated. The bonding strength was approximately doubled by electroless Pd-P plating. Brittle Sn-Te intermetallic compounds were formed on the bonding interface of the thermoelectric elements without electroless Pd-P plating, and the fracture of the bond originated from these intermetallic compounds. A Pd-Sn solder reaction layer with a thickness of approximately 20 µm was formed under the Pd-P plating layer in the case of the electroless Pd-P plating, and prevented the diffusion of Bi and Te. In addition, the fracture did not occur on the bonding interface but in the thermoelectric elements for the electroless Pd-P plating because the bonding strength of the Pd-Sn reaction layer was higher than the shear strength of the thermoelectric elements.