Desensitizing nano powders to electrostatic discharge ignition

Ryan Steelman, Billy Clark, Michelle L. Pantoya, Ronald J. Heaps, Michael A. Daniels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is a main cause for ignition in powder media ranging from grain silos to fireworks. Nanoscale particles are orders of magnitude more ESD ignition sensitive than their micron scale counterparts. This study shows that at least 13 vol. % carbon nanotubes (CNT) added to nano-aluminum and nano-copper oxide particles (nAl + CuO) eliminates ESD ignition sensitivity. The CNT act as a conduit for electric energy and directs electric charge through the powder to desensitize the reactive mixture to ignition. For nanoparticles, the required CNT concentration for desensitizing ESD ignition acts as a diluent to quench energy propagation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Electrostatics
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Aluminum
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Electrostatic discharge
  • Ignition
  • Nanoparticles
  • Thermites


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