Skutterudite unicouple characterization for energy harvesting applications

Andrew Muto, Jian Yang, Bed Poudel, Zhifeng Ren, Gang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Skutterudites are promising thermoelectric materials because of their high figure of merit, ZT , and good thermomechanical properties. This work reports the effective figure of merit, ZT eff , and the efficiency of skutterudite legs and a unicouple working under a large temperature difference. The p- and n-type legs are fabricated with electrodes sintered directly to the skutterudite during a hot pressing process. CoSi2is used as the electrode for the n-type skutterudite (Yb0.35Co4Sb12) and Co 2Si for the p-type skutterudite (NdFe3.5Co 0.5Sb12). A technique is developed to measure the ZT eff of individual legs and the effi- ciency of a unicouple. An ZT eff of 0.74 is determined for the n-type legs operating between 52 and 595°C, and an ZT eff of 0.51 for the p-type legs operating between 77 and 600°C. The efficiency of the p-n unicouple is determined to be 9.1% operating between - 70 and 550°C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-251
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced Energy Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Materials Science


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