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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.


© 2013 American Institute of Physics. Original published version available at

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Applied Physics Letters





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