Synthesis and characterization of mixed metal oxide nanocomposite energetic materials

Brady J. Clapsaddle, Lihua Zhao, Alex E. Gash, Joe H. Satcher, Kenneth J. Shea, Michelle L. Pantoya, Randall L. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In the field of composite energetic materials, properties such as ingredient distribution, particle size, and morphology, affect both sensitivity and performance. Since the reaction kinetics of composite energetic materials are typically controlled by the mass transport rates between reactants, one would anticipate new and potentially exceptional performance from energetic nanocomposites. We have developed a new method of making nanostructured energetic materials, specifically explosives, propellants, and pyrotechnics, using sol-gel chemistry. A novel sol-gel approach has proven successful in preparing metal oxide/silicon oxide nanocomposites in which the metal oxide is the major component. Two of the metal oxides are tungsten trioxide and iron(III) oxide, both of which are of interest in the field of energetic materials. Furthermore, due to the large availability of organically functionalized silanes, the silicon oxide phase can be used as a unique way of introducing organic additives into the bulk metal oxide materials. As a result, the desired organic functionality is well dispersed throughout the composite material on the nanoscale. By introducing a fuel metal into the metal oxide/silicon oxide matrix, energetic materials based on thermite reactions can be fabricated. The resulting nanoscale distribution of all the ingredients displays energetic properties not seen in its microscale counterparts due to the expected increase of mass transport rates between the reactants. The synthesis and characterization of these metal oxide/silicon oxide nanocomposites and their performance as energetic materials will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-96
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials Research Society Symposium - Proceedings
StatePublished - 2003
EventSynthesis, Characterization and Properties of Energetic/Reactive Nanomaterials - Boston, MA., United States
Duration: Dec 1 2003Dec 4 2003


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