Mechanical properties of bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3) processed by high pressure torsion (HPT)
Bismuth telluride, Bi2Te3, is the main thermoelectric material currently in use for commercial cooling devices or for energy harvesting near room temperature. Because of its highly anisotropic layered structure, Bi2Te3 is very brittle, failing by cleavage along its basal plane. Refining its grain size is expected to increase its toughness with the advantage that, simultaneously, its thermoelectric "figure of merit" results increased. In this work, powders of the compound have been compacted by conventional methods as well as by severe plastic deformation under high pressure (3 GPa) using high pressure torsion (HPT, one turn at room temperature). Near-theoretical density has been achieved. The hardness and toughness of the compacts have been assessed by micro and nano-indentation.