Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 8-15-2014


Thermoelectric properties of the W/Si/Ge alloy system have been investigated with varying concentration levels of germanium and tungsten. The alloys were fabricated by directional solidification with the Bridgman method using boron nitride and fused silica crucibles. The effect of crucible contamination was investigated and found to result in doping the system to suitable levels for thermoelectric applications. The system has been demonstrated as a suitable high temperature p-type thermoelectric material exhibiting high power factors, >3000 μW/m K2. Seebeck coefficients of the system are on the order of +300 μV/K and electrical conductivities of 2.8 × 104 S/m at the optimum operating temperature. The best composition, 0.9 at% W/9.3 at% Ge, achieved a figure of merit comparable to RTG values over the temperature range of interest. The results suggest that W addition can reduce the use of expensive Ge component of the alloy. Reported are the details of processing conditions, microstructure development, and temperature dependent thermoelectric properties. The material system was stable at the temperatures required for NASA’s radioisotope thermoelectric generators.

Publication Title

Journal of Alloys and Compounds





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Engineering Commons



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