Exploring the effects of nanostructured particles on liquid nitromethane combustion

Justin L. Sabourin, Richard A. Yetter, Venkata Sharat Parimi

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37 Scopus citations


Monopropellants consisting of liquid nitromethane and high-surface-area particles of silicon- and aluminum- based oxides were examined to determine the effects of low concentrations of nanostructured materials on deflagration processes. The combustion rates were characterized by measuring linear burning rates in a large pressure vessel filled with argon. Results showed that nitromethane burning rates may be increased at lower pressures with dilute additions of particles. Increases in nitromethane burning rates of greater than 50 % were found with less than 1.0 wt % of particle addition at a nominal pressure of 5.24 MPa. The particle additions were estimated to have only small effects on the equilibrium flame temperatures, density, viscosity, and specific heat Nitromethane with particle additives displayed a lower burning-rate equation pressure exponent (i.e., reduced pressure sensitivity), which was inversely proportional to particle concentration. Above a pressure of approximately 9 MPa, up to the maximum test pressure (∼14 MPa), the particle additives did not affect the nitromethane burning rate. Condensedphase temperature profiles of the deflagrating fluid, surface tension, and fluid thermal conductivities were measured in order to elucidate some of the mechanisms causing enhanced burning rates at lower pressures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1006-1015
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Propulsion and Power
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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