Heterogeneous reaction kinetics for oxidation and combustion of boron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Non-isothermal thermogravimetric (TG) analysis was used to study the oxidation kinetics for 95% pure amorphous boron powder. Commercial boron powders were pre-treated with acetonitrile and water to reduce the thickness of their initial hydrated oxide layer and to achieve a narrower particle size distribution. The samples were oxidized at different heating rates in an oxygen-argon gas mixture. Boron particles comprising aggregates of finer primary particles were modeled as spheres with porous shells and solid cores. Experimental TG traces were split among particles of different sizes. The split was based on the measured particle size distribution and accounted for the fraction of the measured mass gain assigned to different powder particle size bins using the core-shell particle model. Further, the reactive shell was assumed to consist of densely packed spherical primary particles. The reaction kinetics was quantified to obtain both activation energy and pre-factor describing oxidation of the primary particles. The early stage of oxidation is well described with the activation energy of 148 ± 6 kJ/mol. The oxidation rate of boron particle of any size can be obtained considering the rate of oxidation of the primary particle and the introduced core-shell particle structure. The obtained oxidation model was extrapolated to the range of temperatures typical of boron combustion. A change in the particle morphology occurring when boron melts and the aggregates of primary particles coalesce into a single droplet was accounted for. Burn times predicted at different temperatures were close to those measured for boron particles burning in room air. Comparisons suggest that the particle surface temperature varies in the range of 3500–4500 K, approaching boron boiling point. It is concluded that the same heterogeneous kinetics governs both low-temperature oxidation of boron when the oxide film thickness is small and its full-fledged combustion occurring at much higher temperatures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number178415
JournalThermochimica Acta
StatePublished - Dec 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


  • Fractal aggregates
  • Heterogeneous reactions
  • Particle size distribution
  • Particle surface morphology
  • Reactive materials
  • Thermal analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'Heterogeneous reaction kinetics for oxidation and combustion of boron'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this