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Numerical Calculations and Measurements of Energy Transduction in Electrically Exploded Ni/Al Laminates

  • Christopher J. Morris (a1), Paul R. Wilkins (a2), Chadd M. May (a2) and Nicholas W. Piekiel (a1)


The electrical heating of Ni/Al laminate foils allows interrogation of phenomena at heating rates as high as 10^12 K/s. In the 2011 Fall MRS meeting, we reported on emission spectra from rapidly heated Ni/Al laminates resolved temporally over 350 ns, which provided qualitative evidence of rapid and exothermic vapor phase mixing of Ni and Al in these experiments which we term electrical explosions. These results were significant, because thermal diffusion processes normally limit Ni/Al reactions to much slower energy release rates, potentially limiting their applications. Here we present further evidence of exothermic Ni/Al mixing, quantified by experimental velocity measurements of encapsulation material and interpreted by numerical calculations of energy partitioning into different processes. These calculations agreed well with experiments from different Al, Cu, and Ni samples, sputter-deposited and lithographically patterned into bow-tie bridge structures. Velocity measurements of up to 5 km/s for 11.5 μm thick parylene encapsulation layers were accurately predicted using a single, empirical fitting parameter which depended on the electrical circuit used. The calculations also agreed with encapsulation layers accelerated by electrically exploded Ni/Al laminates as long as an additional 1.2 kJ/g of energy was included in the model. This value is precisely the enthalpy of mixing between Ni and Al, and therefore quantifies the transduction of energy into encapsulation layer kinetic energy.



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Numerical Calculations and Measurements of Energy Transduction in Electrically Exploded Ni/Al Laminates

  • Christopher J. Morris (a1), Paul R. Wilkins (a2), Chadd M. May (a2) and Nicholas W. Piekiel (a1)


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