Infrared emitted intensity measurements from burning aluminum droplets in solid propellants

J. Harrison, M Quinn Brewster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Infrared emitted intensities (absolute) were measured from burning aluminum droplets in aluminized composite solid propellants near the burning surface of the propellant from 1 to 50atm. A high-speed, focal-plane array camera was used for mid-infrared imaging at a wavelength of 3.42m. At 1-5atm high-resolution images were able to resolve three potentially important regions of infrared emission: molten metal, molten oxide cap on the droplet surface, and oxide smoke in the detached flame envelope. At this wavelength, which is of particular importance due to the strong influence of gas composition on oxide stoichiometry and emissivity, spectral intensities ranged from 0.2-3.6W/m2msr at 1atm increasing to 2.0-5.5W/cm2msr at 50atm. The large variation in emitted intensity at each pressure was attributed to variations in oxide cap emission and oxide smoke emission. Molten metal emission, which was relatively uniform over the droplet surface, corresponded well with fundamental predictions for an opaque, optically smooth surface if the droplet temperature was assumed to be several hundred degrees Celsius below the metal boiling point. Oxide cap emission, on the other hand, was quite non-uniform over the droplet surface, exhibiting significant volumetric (path length-dependent) effects. Oxide caps were optically thick enough over most slant paths to augment metal emission significantly. Smoke envelope emission was less than 10% below 5atm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-35
Number of pages18
JournalCombustion science and technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Aluminized solid propellants
  • Aluminum radiation
  • Burning aluminum
  • Spectral intensity measurements
  • Thermal emission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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