PbTe is a conventional thermoelectric material for thermoelectric generator at intermediate temperature. Small grain size effect has been reported to improve PbTe ZT values (figure of merit). We report a combination process of attrition milling and spark plasma sintering (SPS) for preparing PbTe bulk materials with small grain sizes. The PbTe powders were milled by attrition under 600 rpm for 6–96 h and followed by SPS process under the sintering temperature of 573–773 K, the heating rate of 100 K/min, and the sintering pressure of 50 MPa. The powders and bulk materials as-prepared were then studied by X-ray diffraction patterns, scanning electron microscopy images, and transmission electron microscopy images. Transport properties of polycrystalline PbTe bulks were evaluated through temperature dependent thermal conductivity measurements.

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