We present a facile, spontaneous, and surfactant-free method to controllably self-assemble aluminum and bismuth trioxide nanoparticles through the introduction of graphene oxide as a self-assembly directing agent. The self-assembled nanocomposites demonstrate significant combustion performance improvements in comparison to randomly mixed aluminum and bismuth trioxide nanoparticles with enhanced pressure generation from 60 to 200 MPa, pressurization rate from 3 to 16 MPa μs−1, burning rate from 1.15 to 1.55 km s−1, and specific impulse from 41 to 71 s. The sensitivity of the self-assembled aluminum and bismuth trioxide to electrostatic discharge was reduced by four orders of magnitude, without decreasing the combustion performance. Graphene oxide directed self-assembly can be used to synthesize nanocomposites with diverse combustion properties and controlled ignition sensitivity, which lays the foundation for preparing multi-functional, highly-reactive, combustion systems in the future.
Dr. T. Rajagopalan, Staley, C., Geeson, J. M., Chung, S., Raymond, K. E., Gangopadhyay, K., and Gangopadhyay, S., “Enhanced Combustion Characteristics of Bismuth Trioxide-Aluminum Nanocomposites Prepared through Graphene Oxide Directed Self-Assembly”, Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics, vol. 40, pp. 729–734, 2015.