Synthesis and characterization of reactive core-shell nanoparticles

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Chemical Engineering


Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering


Advisor: Kevin J. Myers


Recent advances in the science of nanoparticle synthesis have resulted in new core-shell nanoparticles displaying novel, unique, and potentially valuable properties for their use in propellants, fuels, and explosives. This research was conducted in support of the Propulsion Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory aimed at the development of functional reactive nanoparticles as fuel additives for improved thermal stability. In this work, oxidation of highly reactive zero-valent iron nanoparticles coated to prevent agglomeration and early reaction was studied as a novel approach to remove oxygen from the fuels. The particles were synthesized using sonochemistry, a well-established technique to self assemble core-shell nanoparticles, where the solution of pentacarbonyl Fe(CO)5 in dodecane was sonciated in the presence of an encapsulating compound, or shell material, to produce core-shell nanoparticles (CSNPs). The nanoparticles were stable at the temperatures below 120°C; at elevated temperatures, the shell material allows oxygen to permeate and react with the iron core depleting the oxygen from solution. It was observed that altering the structure of the shell material significantly influences the temperature-controlled oxidation of CSNPs over a range from 130°C to 188°C. This thesis investigates various shell material parameters including chain length, structural perturbation, and functional group to protect the iron core from oxidation at low temperatures and enable temperature-controlled oxidation of the iron core at higher temperatures. The impact of shell material parameters on CSNP solubility, particle diameter and temperature-controlled oxidation are investigated and reported.


Fuel Additives Thermal properties Testing, Nanoparticles

Rights Statement

Copyright 2012, author