Catalyzing aluminum particle reactivity with a fluorine oligomer surface coating for energy generating applications

Jena McCollum, Michelle L. Pantoya, Scott T. Iacono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Exothermic surface reaction between fluorine from a fluorine-containing polymer and the alumina (Al2O3) monolayer shell surrounding aluminum (Al) fuel particles promotes aluminum reactivity. This study investigates the reactivity of Al when coated with a liquid fluorinated oligomer, specifically perfluoropolyether (PFPE). Flame speeds, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and quadruple mass spectrometry (QMS) were performed for Al-PFPE blends with varying Al particle sizes (i.e., 80, 100, 120 and 5500 nm average diameter). The results show that the combustion performance of these blends is highly dependent on the Al2O3 exposed surface area that catalyzes the decomposition of PFPE. As Al particle diameter increases from 80 to 120 nm, the Al-PFPE blends exhibit an increase in flame speeds by 48% and a corresponding increase in surface exothermic reaction identified as a pre-ignition reaction (PIR) that promotes an increase in the calorific output of the main reaction. But, from 120 to 5500 nm Al-PFPE blends, flame speeds decrease by 93%. The higher activation energy and lower Al-Al2O3 particle surface area to volume ratio for micrometer-scale Al fails to significantly catalyze the PIR and results in reduced overall Al reactivity. These results introduce a new and simplified synthesis approach for catalyzing a PIR in Al that strategically promotes overall Al particle reactivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-271
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Fluorine Chemistry
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Alumina catalysis
  • Aluminum
  • Aluminum fluoride
  • Catalysis
  • Combustion
  • Flame speeds
  • Fluorine
  • Kinetics
  • Reactivity


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