Aluminum-oxygen reaction is important in highly energetic and high pressure generating systems. Recent experiments with nanostructured thermites suggest that oxidation of aluminum nanoparticles occurs in a few microseconds. Such rapid reaction cannot be explained by a conventional diffusion-based mechanism. We present a rapid oxidation model of a spherical aluminum nanoparticle, using Cabrera-Mott moving boundary mechanism, and taking self-heating into account. In our model, electric potential solves the nonlinear Poisson equation. In contrast with the Coulomb potential, a “double-layer” type solution for the potential and self-heating leads to enhanced oxidation rates. At maximal reaction temperature of 2000 C, our model predicts overall oxidation time scale in microseconds range, in agreement with the experimental evidence.
Martirosyan, Karen S. and Zyskin, Maxim, "Reactive self-heating model of aluminum spherical nanoparticles" (2013). Physics and Astronomy Faculty Publications and Presentations. 28.
Applied Physics Letters