Melt dispersion mechanism for fast reaction of nanothermites

Valery I. Levitas, Blaine W. Asay, Steven F. Son, Michelle Pantoya

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176 Scopus citations


An unexpected mechanism for fast oxidation of Al nanoparticles covered by a thin oxide shell (OS) is proposed. The volume change due to melting of Al induces pressures of 0.1-4 GPa and causes spallation of the OS. A subsequent unloading wave creates high tensile pressures resulting in dispersion of liquid Al clusters, oxidation of which is not limited by diffusion (in contrast to traditional mechanisms). Physical parameters controlling this process are determined. Methods to promote this melt dispersion mechanism, and consequently, improve efficiency of energetic nanothermites are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number071909
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2006


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