A diagnostic for quantifying heat flux from a thermite spray

E. P. Nixon, M. L. Pantoya, D. J. Prentice, E. D. Steffler, M. A. Daniels, S. P. D'Arche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Characterizing the combustion behaviors of energetic materials requires diagnostic tools that are often not readily or commercially available. For example, a jet of thermite spray provides a high temperature and pressure reaction that can also be highly corrosive and promote undesirable conditions for the survivability of any sensor. Developing a diagnostic to quantify heat flux from a thermite spray is the objective of this study. Quick response sensors such as thin film heat flux sensors cannot survive the harsh conditions of the spray, but more rugged sensors lack the response time for the resolution desired. A sensor that will allow for adequate response time while surviving the entire test duration was constructed. The sensor outputs interior temperatures of the probes at known locations and utilizes an inverse heat conduction code to calculate heat flux values. The details of this device are discussed and illustrated. Temperature and heat flux measurements of various thermite sprays are reported. Results indicate that this newly designed heat flux sensor provides quantitative data with good repeatability suitable for characterizing energetic material combustion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number025202
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Heat flux
  • Nozzle geometry
  • Thermite
  • Thermite spray


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