Functionally graded thermoelectric materials (FGTMs) have been prepared by sedimentation of atoms under a strong gravitational field. Starting samples of BixSb1−x alloys with different composition x were synthesized by melting of metals and subsequent annealing of quenched samples. The thermoelectric properties (Seebeck coefficient, electrical conductivity) of the starting materials were characterized over the temperature range from 300 K to 525 K. Strong gravity experiments were performed in a unique ultracentrifuge apparatus under acceleration of over 0.5 × 106 G at temperatures of 538 K and 623 K. Changes of the microstructure and chemical composition were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy analysis. The distribution of the Seebeck coefficient of the Bi-Sb alloys was characterized by scanning thermoelectric microprobe. As a result of sedimentation, large changes in chemical composition (x = 0.45 to 1) were obtained. It was found that the changes in chemical composition were correlated with alterations of the Seebeck coefficient. The obtained experimental data allowed the development of a semiempirical model for the selection of optimal processing parameters for preparation of Bi-Sb alloys with required thermoelectric properties.
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