Texas Tech University


In combustion applications, the high surface area of the nanomaterial enables complete, fast, and consistent burning. Aluminum and silicon are both promising materials with comparable heats of combustion (7.4-7.5 kcal/g) and low cost. Aluminum nanopowder has been used successfully in propellants and metastable intermetallic composites (nanothermites) but is subject to aging effects due to its porous oxide shell. Nanosilicon shows great promise due to its thin and compact oxide layer. Under funding from the Army, SMRC has determined a scalable process for the production of 50 nm amorphous silicon at low cost. Nano-energetics will be excellent feedstock for future energetic devices produced by additive manufacturing due their homogeneity on the nanoscale. Using SMRC's experience in energetics and additive manufacturing of highly viscous materials, we have been working with the Army to determine the system requirements for the production of a 3D printer capable of safely printing energetic materials into system subcomponents. Systems and Materials Research Corporation will survey the current state of nano metal and metalloid fuels and present its recent work to reduce production costs of nanosilicon. Preliminary formulations of fuels in pyrotechnics and pyrolant formulations and how these materials could be printed into future munitions will also be discussed.

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DR. DAVID IRVIN is the Director for Research for Systems & Materials Research Corporation (SMRC). After receiving a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Florida, Dr. Irvin was a post-doctoral fellow at Sandia National Laboratory at Livermore. Dr. Irvin then worked for the Naval Air Warfare Center China Lake for 8 years.The work involved the organic synthesis of various compounds and polymers for a range of projects ranging from electrospinning to energetics. At SMRC, he specializes in nanomaterials synthesis and processing including nanothermites and is the co-inventor of the 3D printer capable of printing food for long duration space missions.