Sol-Gel Chemistry Used in the Synthesis and Formulation of Nanocomposites for Energetic Materials

Topics Covered

Background

What are Energetic Nanocomposites?

Sol-Gel Methods Allow Nanoscale Level Mixing of Oxidizer and Fuel Components and Might Aid Water Processing Techniques

Sol-Gel Chemistry Can Create New Energetic Materials, and Benefits of Using Sol-Gel Processes

Nanostructured Energetic Materials Created Using Sol-Gel Chemistry

Background

We are interested in the application of sol-gel derived materials as components for nanostructured energetic composite materials. It is well known that mechanical, acoustic, electronic, and optical properties can be significantly and favorably altered in nanostructured composite materials.

What are Energetic Nanocomposites?

Energetic nanocomposites are a class of materials that have both a fuel and oxidizer component intimately mixed and where at least one of the component phases has particle sizes with nanometer dimensions (< 100 nm). A sol-gel derived pyrotechnic is an example of an energetic nanocomposite, in which metal-oxide nanoparticles react with nanometer-sized fuel metals in very exothermic reactions. The fuel resides within the pores of the solid matrix, while the oxidizer is the skeletal matrix.

Figure 1. Schematic representation of a sol-gel derived energetic nanocomposite. In this case, the sol-gel network consists of interconnected nanometer-sized oxidizer and the fuel component resides in the nanometer-sized pores of the framework.

Sol-Gel Methods Allow Nanoscale Level Mixing of Oxidizer and Fuel Components and Might Aid Water Processing Techniques

The sol-gel formulations allow for intimate mixing of oxidizer and fuel components at the nanoscale level and have the potential for water processing. This methodology is used to make pyrotechnic materials with superior performance than existing formulations, while incorporating all the safety and low toxicity considerations of water or other environmentally acceptable processing solvent-based systems.

Figure 2. This energy-filtered transmission electron micrograph of a sol-gel derived Fe2O3/Al nanocomposites illustrates the extremely fine mixing of oxidizer and fuel achieved via this process.

Sol-Gel Chemistry Can Create New Energetic Materials, and Benefits of Using the Sol-Gel Process

Modern technology, through sol-gel chemistry, provides an approach to control structures at the nanometer scale, thus enabling the formation of new energetic materials, generally having improved, exceptional, or entirely new properties. In general, initiation and detonation properties of energetic materials are dramatically affected by their microstructural properties. Here, we exploit sol-gel chemistry as a route to process energetic materials. Attractive features of the sol-gel approach for energetic material processing are that it offers the possibility to precisely control oxidizer-fuel compositions and produce composites with extremely well dispersed and intimately mixed component phases.

Nanostructured Energetic Materials Created Using Sol-Gel Chemistry

To accomplish this we have invented a new method of making nanostructured energetic materials, specifically explosives, propellants, and pyrotechnics, using sol-gel chemistry. By minimizing the particle size of the oxidizers and fuels (energetic nanocomposites), we seek to increase the power of high energy density composites.

Figure 3. Image showing the combustion of a sol-gel energetic nanocomposite.

Primary author: Alex Gash.

Source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) of the University of California, and the US Department of Energy (DoE).

For more information on this source please visit Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

 

Date Added: Apr 27, 2005 | Updated: Jun 11, 2013
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