Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 February 2013
The advantage of aluminum powder as a fuel additive in energetic formulation includes its high volumetric combustion enthalpy and relatively low cost. However, the thermodynamically predicted benefits of aluminum combustion are rarely achieved because of extended ignition delays associated with heterogeneous reactions occurring at the alumina surface which surrounds the aluminum particle. In order to fully exploit aluminum’s high reaction energy, this effort focuses on adjusting its combustion dynamics by modifying its surface and structure. The modification is achieved by cryo-milling aluminum with cyclooctane, which is liquid at room temperature, but solid when cooled by liquid nitrogen. The prepared materials consist of micron-sized, equiaxial, mostly Al particles with a small amount of cyclooctane. Aluminum surface in the prepared sample is coated with a cyclooctane-modified layer with properties significantly different from those of regular alumina. Its oxidation kinetics, as observed from thermo-analytical measurements, is different from that of pure aluminum. The powder ignites at substantially reduced temperatures, produces shorter ignition delays, and higher aerosol burn rates compared to a regular spherical Al powder with similar particle sizes.
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