Ignition Characteristics of Metastable Intermolecular Composites



Metastable Intermolecular Composite (MIC) materials are comprised of a mixture of oxidizer and fuel with particle sizes in the nanometer range. They are a subclass of materials known as thermites. The mechanism responsible for the propagation of reaction in loose compacts is not well understood. We have conducted a series of experiments using high-speed photography and pressure transducers in an attempt to identify the dominant mechanism. We studied a mixture of aluminum and molybdenum trioxide. Of the four possible candidates (radiation, convection, conduction, and acoustic/compaction), these preliminary studies identify convection as the most likely. However, the extent of contribution of the other modes is not yet known and this will receive further study.