Characterization of the interface between an Fe–Cr alloy and the p-type thermoelectric oxide Ca3Co4O9

Tim Holgate, Li Han, NingYu Wu, Espen Drath Bøjesen, Mogens Christensen, Bo B. Iversen, Ngo Van Nong, Nini Pryds

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A customized Fe–Cr alloy that has been optimized for high temperature applications in oxidizing atmospheres has been interfaced via spark plasma sintering (SPS) with a p-type thermoelectric oxide material: calcium cobaltate (Ca3Co4O9). The properties of the alloy have been analyzed for its compatibility with the Ca3Co4O9 in terms of its thermal expansion and transport properties. The thermal and electrical contact resistances have been measured as a function of temperature, and the long term electronic integrity of the interface analyzed by measuring the resistance vs. time at an elevated temperature. The kinetics of the interface have been analyzed through imaging with scanning electron microscopy (SEM), elemental analysis using energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), and phase identification with X-ray diffraction (XRD). The results reveal the formation of an intermediate phase containing calcium and chromium in the interface that is highly resistive at room temperature, but conducting at the intended thermoelectric device hot-side operating temperature of 800 °C. As the alloy is well matched in terms of its thermal expansion and highly conducting compared to the Ca3Co4O9, it may be further considered as an interconnect material candidate at least with application on the hot-side of an oxide thermoelectric power generation module.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Alloys and Compounds
Pages (from-to)827–833
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Metal-oxide interface
  • Ca3Co4O9
  • Thermoelectric
  • Module
  • Contact resistance


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