Advanced susceptors for microwave heating of energetic materials

Evan Vargas, Michelle L. Pantoya, Mohammed A. Saed, Brandon L. Weeks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Trinitrotoluene (TNT) like many monomolecular organic explosives is transparent to microwave energy. This study examines the influence of carbon additives to TNT purposefully selected to absorb microwave energy and enable heating throughout the composite. Five carbon additives with different shapes are analyzed including carbon nanotubes, spherical powder, diamond nanoparticles, graphene nano-flakes, and graphite micron-flakes. Each was added to TNT at a constant 1. wt.% concentration then subjected to 1.7. GHz of microwave energy for up to one minute. In-situ two-dimensional transient temperature is measured using a high-resolution high-speed infrared (IR) camera. ANSYS high frequency structural simulator (HFSS) software simulated power absorption for each additive. Simulations predict tubes absorb more energy but experimentally flakes induce melting of the TNT faster. Further analysis of additive connectivity through the matrix suggests that inter-particle connectivity plays a strong role in enhancing heat transfer upon microwave attenuation; and flakes show the greatest inter-connectivity. Engineering composite materials with optimized additives could lead to advances in microwave technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-53
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials and Design
StatePublished - 2016


  • Advanced energetic composites
  • Microwave heating
  • Particle connectivity
  • Particle shape
  • Powder compacts
  • Susceptors


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