Realizing microgravity flame spread characteristics at 1 g over a bed of nano-aluminum powder

J. Y. Malchi, J. Prosser, R. A. Yetter, S. F. Son

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Nanoscale aluminum (nAl) powders demonstrate relatively fast counter-flow flame spread rates compared to typical fuels such as Poly(methyl methacrylate) or cellulose at similar conditions. This allows for the dominant forward heat transfer mechanism to be through the solid fuel at higher applied oxidizer velocities, and flame structure characteristics typically observed in microgravity to be realized at 1 g conditions. Because of the porosity of the nAl powder, the gaseous oxidizer can diffuse into the bed and reactions within the solid phase become important. Using an energy balance applied to only the solid phase, an analytical model is developed which predicts the experiments for flame spread over a nAl bed. Moreover, an explanation for fingering phenomenon is established based on the effective Lewis and Damköhler numbers. This allows for an explanation of why flame spread over a bed of nAl will demonstrate this fingering instability in a quiescent, 1 g environment without a top plate to hinder buoyant flows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2437-2444
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Volume32 II
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009
Event32nd International Symposium on Combustion - Montreal, QC, Canada
Duration: Aug 3 2008Aug 8 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Realizing microgravity flame spread characteristics at 1 g over a bed of nano-aluminum powder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this