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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2015, Article ID 682153, 12 pages
Research Article

Passivation and Stabilization of Aluminum Nanoparticles for Energetic Materials

1Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc., 1046 New Holland Avenue, Lancaster, PA 17601, USA
2Penn State University, 150 Fenske Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802, USA
3Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180, USA

Received 17 June 2015; Accepted 13 October 2015

Academic Editor: Paulo Cesar Morais

Copyright © 2015 Matthew Flannery et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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.