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Exploring the Length Scale Limits of Porous Silicon Combustion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 May 2015

Nicholas W. Piekiel
Affiliation:
U.S. Army Research Laboratory, 2800 Powder Mill Rd, Adelphi, MD 20783, U.S.A.
Christopher J. Morris
Affiliation:
U.S. Army Research Laboratory, 2800 Powder Mill Rd, Adelphi, MD 20783, U.S.A.
Wayne A. Churaman
Affiliation:
U.S. Army Research Laboratory, 2800 Powder Mill Rd, Adelphi, MD 20783, U.S.A.
David M. Lunking
Affiliation:
U.S. Army Research Laboratory, 2800 Powder Mill Rd, Adelphi, MD 20783, U.S.A.
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Abstract

The present study explores the burning of microscale porous silicon channels with sodium perchlorate. These on-chip porous silicon energetics were embedded in crystalline silicon, and therefore surrounded on three sides by an efficient thermal conductor. For slow burning systems, this presents complications as heat loss to the crystalline silicon substrate can result in inconsistent burning or flame extinction. We investigated <100 μm wide porous silicon strips, sparsely filled with sodium perchlorate (NaClO4), to probe the limits of on-chip combustion. Four different etch times were attempted to decrease the dimensions of the porous silicon strips. The smallest size achieved was 12 x 64 µm, and despite the small dimensions, demonstrated the same flame speed as the larger porous silicon strips of 6-7 m/s. We predict that unreacted porous silicon acts as a thermal insulator to aid combustion for slow burning porous silicon channels, and SEM images provide evidence to support this. We also investigated the small scale combustion of a rapidly burning sample (∼1200 m/s). Despite the rapid flame speed, the propagation followed a designed, winding flame path. The use of these small scale porous silicon samples could significantly reduce the energetic material footprint for future microscale applications.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2015 

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