Pyrophoricity of nano-sized aluminum particles

Salil Mohan, Alexandre Ermoline, Edward L. Dreizin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The temperature histories are calculated for spherical nano-sized aluminum particles with no protective oxide shell inserted in air at 300 K. In calculations, initial particle temperatures varied and the minimum initial temperature leading to the particle ignition was determined. The particle, initially without any oxide coating, was assumed to react adiabatically forming a monomolecular oxide coverage; the following oxidation was assumed to be governed by the Cabrera-Mott reaction mechanism. Convection and radiation heat losses were considered. Convection was accounted for using a transition regime heat transfer model by Fuchs. Aluminum particles with diameters less than about 68 nm are predicted to be pyrophoric, e.g., ignite without appreciable initial pre-heating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number723
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • Alumina growth
  • Explosives
  • Oxidation kinetics
  • Reactive nanomaterials
  • Self-heating


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