Impact ignition of aluminum-teflon based energetic materials impregnated with nano-structured carbon additives

Keerti Kappagantula, Michelle L. Pantoya, Emily M. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The inclusion of graphene into composite energetic materials to enhance their performance is a new area of interest. Studies have shown that the addition of graphene significantly enhances the thermal transport properties of an energetic composite, but how graphene influences the composite's ignition sensitivity has not been studied. The objective of this study is to examine the influence of carbon additives in composite energetic material composed of aluminum and polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon ) on ignition sensitivity due to low velocity, drop weight impact. Specifically, three forms of carbon additives were investigated and selected based on different physical and structural properties: spherically shaped amorphous nano particles of carbon, cylindrically shaped multi walled carbon nanotubes, and sheet like graphene flakes. Results show an interesting trend: composites consisting of carbon nanotubes are significantly more sensitive to impact ignition and require the lowest ignition energy. In contrast, graphene is least sensitive to ignition exhibiting negligible reduction in ignition energy with low concentrations of graphene additive. While graphene does not significantly sensitize the energetic composite to ignition, graphene does, however, result in greater overall reactivity as observed through images of the reaction. The enhanced thermal transport properties of graphene containing composites may promote greater energy transport once ignited, but those properties do not also increase ignition sensitivity. These results and the understanding of the structural arrangement of particles within a composite as a key parameter affecting impact ignition sensitivity will have an impact on the safe handling and use of composite energetic materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number024902
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2012


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