The effect of pre-heating on flame propagation in nanocomposite thermites

Birce Dikici, Michelle L. Pantoya, Valery Levitas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Flame propagation in a confined tube configuration was evaluated for aluminum (Al) and molybdenum trioxide (MoO3) thermites starting at room temperature and pre-heated up to 170°C. Flame propagation was analyzed via high speed imaging diagnostics and temperatures were monitored with thermocouples. Experiments were performed in a semi-confined flame tube apparatus housed in a reaction chamber initially at standard atmospheric pressure. The flame propagation behavior for the nano-particle thermite was compared to micron particle thermite of the same composition. Results indicate that increasing the initial temperature of the reactants results in dramatically increased flame speeds for nanocomposite thermite (i.e., from 627 to 1002m/s for ambient and 105°C pre-heat temperature, respectively) and for micron composite thermite (i.e., from 205 to 347m/s for ambient and 170°C pre-heat temperature, respectively) samples. Experimental studies were extended giving a cooling time for the heated thermites prior to ignition and flame propagation. It is shown that when 105°C and 170°C pre-heated thermites are cooled at a rate of 0.06K/s, almost the same flame speeds are obtained as thermites at ambient temperature. However, when the cooling rate is increased to 0.13K/s, the measured flame speeds approach the flame speeds of pre-heated samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1581-1585
Number of pages5
JournalCombustion and Flame
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Aluminum combustion
  • Energetic material combustion
  • Flame speeds
  • Nanoparticles
  • Reaction propagation
  • Thermites


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