Passivation and stabilization of aluminum nanoparticles for energetic materials

Matthew Flannery, Tapan G. Desai, Themis Matsoukas, Saba Lotfizadeh, Matthew A. Oehlschlaeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In aircraft applications, fuel is used not only as a propellant but also as a coolant and improving both the thermal conductivity and combustion enthalpy of the fuel is beneficial in these applications. These properties can be enhanced by dispersing aluminum nanoparticles into the fuel; however, the nanoparticles require stabilization from agglomeration and passivation from oxidation in order for these benefits to be realized in aircraft applications. To provide this passivation and stabilization, aluminum nanoparticles were encapsulated with a coating by the plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PE-CVD) method from toluene precursors. The thermal conductivity, combustion and ignition properties, and stability of the nanoparticles dispersed in RP-2 fuel were subsequently evaluated. In addition, the effect of dispersing aluminum nanoparticles in RP-2 fuel on the erosion rate of fuel nozzles was evaluated. The dispersion of PE-CVD coated aluminum nanoparticles at a concentration of 3.0% by volume exhibited a 17.7% and 0.9% increase in thermal conductivity and volumetric enthalpy of combustion, respectively, compared to the baseline RP-2 fuel. Additionally, particle size analysis (PSA) of the PE-CVD coated aluminum nanofuel exhibited retention of particle size over a five-month storage period and erosion testing of a 1 mm stainless steel nozzle exhibited a negligible 1% change in discharge coefficient after 100 hours of testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number682153
JournalJournal of Nanomaterials
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science


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