Experimental methodology and heat transfer model for identification of ignition kinetics of powdered fuels

Trent S. Ward, Mikhaylo A. Trunov, Mirko Schoenitz, Edward L. Dreizin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


A methodology for investigating and quantifying the thermal processes leading to ignition of rapidly heated metal powders was developed. The simple experiment involves observing ignition of a powder coated on the surface of an electrically heated filament and is well suited for a variety of powdered fuels. In an experimental case study, the ignition temperature of spherical Mg powder was detected optically at different heating rates. To interpret the results, a heat transfer model was developed for a multilayer powder coating on the heated cylindrical filament. The thermal contact resistance between particles was determined from the measured bulk thermal diffusivity of the powder considering the experimental particle size distribution. An Arrhenius type expression was used to describe the exothermic chemical processes leading to ignition with the pre-exponent as an adjustable parameter. For Mg, a pre-exponent value identified by matching the calculations with the experimental data was found to be 1010 kg/m2 s. The match between the experimental and predicted temperatures and times of ignition was good for different heating rates, which validated the proposed heat transfer model and indicated that the developed methodology is practically useful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4943-4954
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Issue number25-26
StatePublished - Dec 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


  • Ignition kinetics
  • Ignition temperature
  • Metal powder
  • Reactive materials


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