The reactions of two nano-thermites, aluminum (Al) with copper
oxide (CuO) and Al with nickel oxide (NiO) are studied. These
oxidizers were selected based on their predicted properties:
similar flame temperatures but significantly opposing gas
generation. Thermal equilibrium calculations predict that Al]CuO
will have a high gas output and the Al+NiO will produce little gas.
Flame propagation rates and peak pressure measurements were taken
for both composites at various equivalence ratios using an
instrumented flame tube. Results show that the Al+CuO had
approximately twice the propagation rate and peak pressure of the
Al+NiO. A DSC/TGA was used to determine the properties of the
composites and reactants under low heating rates. Results indicate
that under slow heating both composites experience almost no mass
loss. The results suggest that the melt-dispersion mechanism, which
is only engaged at high heating rates, leads to a dispersion of
high velocity molten Al clusters that promotes a pressure build-up
by inducing a bulk movement of fluid. This mechanism may promote
convection without the need for additional gas generation.
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