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Elucidating the dominant mechanisms in burn rate increase of thermite nanolaminates incorporating nanoparticle inclusions

Abstract : It was experimentally found that silica and gold particles can modify the combustion properties of nanothermites but the exact role of the thermal properties of these additives on the propagating combustion front relative to other potential contributions remains unknown. Gold and silica particles of different sizes and volume loadings were added into aluminum/copper oxide thermites. Their effects on the flame front dynamics were investigated experimentally using microscopic dynamic imaging techniques and theoretically via a reaction model coupling mass and heat diffusion processes. A detailed theoretical analysis of the local temperature and thermal gradients at the vicinity of these two additives shows that highly conductive inclusions do not accelerate the combustion front while poor conductive inclusions result in the distortion of the flame front (corrugation), and therefore produce high thermal gradients (up to 1010 K.m−1) at the inclusion/host material interface. This results in an overall slowing down of the combustion front. These theoretical findings contradict the experimental observations in which a net increase of the flame front velocity was found when Au and SiO2 particles are added into the thermite. This leads to the conclusion that the faster burn rate observed experimentally cannot be fully associated with thermal effects only, but rather on chemical (catalytic) and/or mechanical mechanisms: formation of highly-stressed zones around the inclusion promoting the reactant mixing. One additional experiment in which physical SiO2 particles were replaced by voids (filled with Ar during experiment) to cancel the potential mechanical effects while preserving the thermal inhomogeneity in the thermite structure confirms the hypothesis that instead of pure thermal conduction, it is the mechanical mechanisms that dominate the propagation velocity in our specific Al/CuO multilayered films.
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https://hal.laas.fr/hal-03174367
Contributor : Baptiste Julien <>
Submitted on : Friday, March 19, 2021 - 10:31:59 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 3:03:43 AM

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Baptiste Julien, Haiyang Wang, Emilian Tichtchenko, Sylvain Pelloquin, Alain Estève, et al.. Elucidating the dominant mechanisms in burn rate increase of thermite nanolaminates incorporating nanoparticle inclusions. Nanotechnology, Institute of Physics, 2021, 32 (21), pp.215401. ⟨10.1088/1361-6528/abe6c8⟩. ⟨hal-03174367⟩

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