Progress towards nanoengineered energetic materials

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27 Scopus citations


Given the constraints on typical bond energies and the commonality of final products produced from combustion of C-H-N-O based energetic materials, the possibilities for further increases in stored potential energy and thermodynamic performance from these classes of materials are limited. Thus, modulating the energy release to achieve efficiency and effectiveness for desired applications is of great value. Investigation of nanomaterials as energetic materials began more than twenty years ago with much of the interest to increase reaction rates and reduce sensitivity. During this period, research on energetic nanoparticles was devoted to reducing the loss of energy density with metallic materials due to the naturally occurring oxide passivating layer, managing their high surface area preventing high loadings in solids, minimizing particle-particle interactions making dispersion in the gas-phase difficult, and understanding combustion mechanisms. As an outcome, novel synthesis methods of producing nanocomposites, and new fields of applications, such as micro-pyrotechnics, have developed. Yet, the research community is only beginning to understand how to manipulate and build energetic materials at the nanoscale, and what designs are optimal for desired functions. Furthermore, recognizing the difficulties for increased energy density and reduced sensitivity, the development of multifunctional and smart nanoenergetic materials is currently being researched to enable control of energy release rates and material sensitivity on demand. This research is being advanced by assembly of nanoengineered energetic materials to bulk scales by additive manufacturing, the development and application of combustion diagnostics that resolve nanometer and micron scales, and ab initio quantum chemistry and molecular dynamics calculations. The challenges that have been confronted and the directions of continuing research on nanoenergetics are presented and discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-81
Number of pages25
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021
Event38th International Symposium on Combustion, 2021 - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: Jan 24 2021Jan 29 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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