We are currently developing nanoengineered thermites (nanothermite) with tailored properties that are expected to replace lead azide and lead styphnate primers in the near future. Nanothermites are comprised of a mixture of nanoscaled fuel and oxidizer. Typically Al nanoparticles are used as fuel and metal oxides like CuO, MoO3, Bi2O3 are used as oxidizers. Herein we combine two methodologies namely surfactant templating and sol-gel approach to synthesis porous CuO nanoparticles. The formation and the stability of the gel were optimized by varying the proportions of the precursors. The gel was then washed and heated for complete removal of surfactant.
The nanoparticles were characterized using Transmission Electron Microscopy and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Micrographs revealed the formation of nano-porous particles with a diameter of 75-100 nm with 4-6 nm pores. FITR was performed on all samples to confirm the formation of copper oxide and the successful removal of impurities. The combustion characteristics were determined by performing burn rate and reactivity measurements. Burn rate was measured using an optical method. The inner walls of a lexane tube were coated with nanothermite slurry. The combustion speed of the energetic material was obtained from the propagation distance traveled and measured time of propagation. The porous nanoparticles exhibit very high combustion speeds of 1900 m/s. In conclusion, the results clearly reveal that the nanothermites prepared with porous CuO nanoparticles (oxidizer) and Al nanoparticles (fuel) are indeed very promising for both military and civilian applications.
D. Tappmeyer, Dr. T. Rajagopalan, Bezmelnitsyn, A., Apperson, S., Gangopadhyay, K., Gangopadhyay, S., Redner, P., Balas, W., Kapoor, D., and Nicolich, S., “Novel Nanoenergetic Material Using Porous Copper Oxide Nanoparticles and Aluminum Nanoparticles”, in The 2007 Annual Meeting, 2007.