Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

Spring 5-31-2017

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering

First Advisor

Mirko Schoenitz

Second Advisor

Edward L. Dreyzin

Third Advisor

Robert Benedict Barat

Abstract

Nanocomposite thermite powders are of interest to develop varieties of reactive parts and components. Manufacturing these components requires tailoring properties of the thermite powders such as their particle size distributions, particle shapes, and powder flowability. For example, an improved flowability is desired to use these powders as feedstock in additive manufacturing. Arrested reactive milling (ARM) offers a versatile and practical approach for preparing various nanocomposite thermites with fully dense particles, which will retain their structures and mixedness between reactive components while being stored, handled, and processed. However, ARM products usually have broad particle size distributions, rock-like particle shapes, and poor flowability.

Here, ARM is modified to include an additional milling stage to tune the shapes and flowability of the prepared powders. Experiments are performed with aluminum-rich Al·Fe2O3 thermites. After the initial nanocomposite thermite is prepared in a planetary mill, it is additionally milled at a reduced rotation rate, replacing milling balls with smaller glass beads, and adding different liquid process control agents. Powders with modified particle shapes and size distributions are obtained, which have substantially improved flowability compared to the initial material. The reactivity of modified powders is proved not diminished compared with initial samples but improved in several cases by filament ignition, electro-static discharge and constant volume explosion tests.

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