Dependency of aluminum nanoparticle flash ignition on sample internal water content and aggregation

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Aerospace Engineering


Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Advisor: Aaron Altman


The United States Air Force believes that hypersonic flight opens a multitude of possibilities for the warfighter. One of the main propulsion systems for hypersonic flight is scramjet engines. These engines are currently ignited using a form of electric discharge and a primer fuel. This primer fuel system takes away valuable volume and weight in hypersonic vehicle designs. One alternative ignition method would be the utilization of plasmonic resonance to flash ignite aluminum nanoparticles. This process had been proven multiple times in the past and research has begun on characterizing how this ignition process can be affected. One that has not been researched to date has been how water content and agglomeration affect the energy needed for ignition to be achieved. To understand this functional dependence, aluminum nanoparticles were put through a series of trials with various levels of water content. Samples of particles were heated at 473.15 K to decrease water content and subsequently tested to determine the energy input needed for ignition. To understand the effects of increasing water content, particles were placed in an environment with at least 100% relative humidity for both 48 and 168 hours and then tested to determine the ignition energy needed. The results from the two humidified cases were compared with the data from a control group whose water content was not altered in a controlled manner. It was determined that by humidifying the particles the minimum energy needed for total ignition was lowered by approximately five percent on average while drying the particles increased the energy needed by approximately four percent on average.


Surface plasmon resonance, Nanoparticles Effect of water levels on, Hypersonic planes, Aerospace Engineering, Engineering, Nanoscience, Aluminum Nanoparticle Flash Ignition, Nanoparticle Aggregation, Nanoparticle Internal Water Content, Alternate Engine Ignition System

Rights Statement

Copyright 2016, author