Toward design of the pre-stressed nano- and microscale aluminum particles covered by oxide shell

Valery I. Levitas, Birce Dikici, Michelle L. Pantoya

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24 Scopus citations


Prediction based on the recently developed melt-dispersion mechanism of reaction for nanometric (nano) and micrometer (micron) scale aluminum (Al) particles suggests a possible increase in particle reactivity if the alumina shell is pre-compressed and the Al core is pre-expanded. This prediction was checked experimentally by measuring the flame speed for Al and molybdenum trioxide (MoO3) thermites in a semi-confined tube. Pre-stressing was produced by heating particles to several elevated temperatures, holding them at a temperature for 10min to relax thermal stresses, and cooling them at several rates to room temperature. For the optimal thermal treatment conditions (heating to 105°C and cooling at 0.13°C/s), flame propagation speed increased by 31% for nanoparticles and for 41% for micron particles. Cooling at 0.06°C/s after heating to 105°C and cooling at 0.06°C/s and 0.13°C/s after heating to 170°C either did not change the flame speed or increased it significantly less. Results are quantitatively consistent with the theoretical predictions based on the melt-dispersion mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1413-1417
Number of pages5
JournalCombustion and Flame
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Alumina shell
  • Flame propagation rate
  • Internal stresses
  • Melt-dispersion mechanism


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