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International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion
ESCI SJR: 0.149 SNIP: 0.16 CiteScore™: 0.29

ISSN Imprimer: 2150-766X
ISSN En ligne: 2150-7678

International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion

DOI: 10.1615/IntJEnergeticMaterialsChemProp.2012001445
pages 135-141


Bryce C. Tappan
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, USA
Benjamin Aaron Mason
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545; Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA


The reactions of electropositive metals, such as aluminum, with water have long been utilized in explosive and propellant formulations, but until recently this has mostly been limited to the water formed as a product gas from the decomposition of another energetic system. Recently, however, with the increased availability of nanoparticulate materials, the direct reaction of nanoaluminum (nAl) with water as an oxidizer has been investigated as a propellant system due to high reaction temperatures and the production of hydrogen as the primary gaseous species. This system could be useful for intraplanetary travel where nonterrestrial water is harvested for the oxidizer. In this paper we study the merits of highly water soluble metal complexes of bis(tetrazolato)amine (MBTA) as burning rate modifiers for the nAl−water propellant system. Rates and pressure sensitivities are determined for stoichiometric nAl−water mixtures containing the complexes of iron, cobalt, and nickel and are compared with previously reported values from the unmodified system. The FeBTA at a loading of 15 wt% gave the highest burning rate enhancement (4.6× at ~6.8 MPa), while retaining a low pressure exponent (0.21 compared to 0.24 for nAl/H2O). At 15 wt% the Ni and Co increased the burning rate, but also increased the pressure exponents.