Metal-based nanoenergetic materials: Synthesis, properties, and applications

Dilip Sundaram, Vigor Yang, Richard A. Yetter

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

288 Citations (Scopus)


Metal particles are attractive candidate fuels for various propulsion and energy-conversion applications, primarily due to their high energy densities. Micron-sized particles present several drawbacks, such as high ignition temperatures and particle agglomeration, resulting in low energy-release rates. Nanoparticles, on the other hand, are quite attractive due to their unique and favorable properties, which are attributed to their high specific surface area and excess energy of surface atoms. As a result, there is a growing interest in employing metal nanoparticles in propulsion and energy-conversion systems. The present work provides a comprehensive review of the advances made over the past few decades in the areas of synthesis, properties, and applications of metal-based energetic nanomaterials. An overview of existing methods to synthesize nanomaterials is first provided. Novel approaches to passivate metal nanoparticles are also discussed. The physicochemical properties of metal nanoparticles are then examined in detail. Low-temperature oxidation processes, and ignition and combustion of metal nanoparticles are investigated. The burning behaviors of different energetic material formulations with metal nanoparticles such as particle-laden dust clouds, solid propellants, liquid fuels and propellants, thermite materials, and inter-metallic systems are reviewed. Finally, deficiencies and uncertainties in our understanding of the field are identified, and directions for future work are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-365
Number of pages73
JournalProgress in Energy and Combustion Science
Publication statusPublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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