All Publications

  • Effect of Fluoroalkylsilane Surface Functionalization on Boron Combustion. ACS applied materials & interfaces Baek, J., Jiang, Y., Demko, A. R., Jimenez-Thomas, A. R., Vallez, L., Ka, D., Xia, Y., Zheng, X. 2022


    Boron has been regarded as a promising high-energy fuel due to its high volumetric and gravimetric heating values. However, it remains challenging for boron to attain its theoretical heat of combustion because of the existence of its native boron oxide layer and its high melting and boiling temperatures that delay ignition and inhibit complete combustion. Boron combustion is known to be enhanced by physically adding fluorine-containing chemicals, such as fluoropolymer or metal fluorides, to remove surface boron oxides. Herein, we chemically functionalize the surface of boron particles with three different fluoroalkylsilanes: FPTS-B (F3-B), FOTS-B (F13-B), and FDTS-B (F17-B). We evaluated the ignition and combustion properties of those three functionalized boron particles as well as pristine ones. The boron particles functionalized with the longest fluorocarbon chain (F17) exhibit the most powerful energetic performance, the highest heat of combustion, and the strongest BO2 emission among all samples. These results suggest that the surface functionalization with fluoroalkylsilanes is an efficient strategy to enhance boron ignition and combustion.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acsami.2c00347

    View details for PubMedID 35467848

  • Enhancing Mechanical and Combustion Performance of Boron/Polymer Composites via Boron Particle Functionalization. ACS applied materials & interfaces Jiang, Y., Dincer Yilmaz, N. E., Barker, K. P., Baek, J., Xia, Y., Zheng, X. 2021


    High-speed air-breathing propulsion systems, such as solid fuel ramjets (SFRJ), are important for space exploration and national security. The development of SFRJ requires high-performance solid fuels with excellent mechanical and combustion properties. One of the current solid fuel candidates is composed of high-energy particles (e.g., boron (B)) and polymeric binder (e.g., hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB)). However, the opposite polarities of the boron surface and HTPB lead to poor B particle dispersion and distribution within HTPB. Herein, we demonstrate that the surface functionalization of B particles with nonpolar oleoyl chloride greatly improves the dispersion and distribution of B particles within HTPB. The improved particle dispersion is quantitatively visualized through X-ray computed tomography imaging, and the particle/matrix interaction is evaluated by dynamic mechanical analysis. The surface-functionalized B particles can be uniformly dispersed up to 40 wt % in HTPB, the highest mass loading reported to date. The surface-functionalized B (40 wt %)/HTPB composite exhibits a 63.3% higher Young's modulus, 87.5% higher tensile strength, 16.2% higher toughness, and 16.8% higher heat of combustion than pristine B (40 wt %)/HTPB. The surface functionalization of B particles provides an effective strategy for improving the efficacy and safety of B/HTPB solid fuels for future high-speed air-breathing vehicles.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acsami.1c06727

    View details for PubMedID 34110148