Heat flux analysis of a reacting thermite spray impingent on a substrate

Eric S. Collins, Michelle L. Pantoya, Michael A. Daniels, Daniel J. Prentice, Eric D. Steffler, Steven P. D'Arche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Spray combustion from a thermite reaction is a new area of research relevant to localized energy generation applications, such as welding or cutting. In this study, we characterized the heat flux of combustion spray impinging on a target from a nozzle for three thermite mixtures. The reactions studied include aluminum (Al) with iron oxide (Fe 2O 3), Al with copper oxide (CuO), and Al with molybdenum oxide (MoO 3). Several standoff distances (i.e., distance from the nozzle exit to the target) were analyzed. A fast response heat flux sensor was engineered for this purpose and is discussed in detail. Results correlated substrate damage to a threshold heat flux of 4550 W/cm 2 for a fixed-nozzle configuration. Also, higher gas-generating thermites were shown to produce a widely dispersed spray and be less effective at imparting kinetic energy damage to a target. These results provide an understanding of the role of thermal and physical properties (i.e., such as heat of combustion, gas generation, and particle size) on thermite spray combustion performance measured by damaging a target substrate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1621-1628
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 14 2012


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