Modeling the ignition of a copper oxide aluminum thermite

Kibaek Lee, D. Scott Stewart, Michael Clemenson, Nick Glumac, Christopher Murzyn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


An experimental "striker confinement" shock compression experiment was developed in the Glumac-group at the University of Illinois to study ignition and reaction in composite reactive materials. These include thermitic and intermetallic reactive powders. Sample of materials such as a thermite mixture of copper oxide and aluminum powders are initially compressed to about 80 percent full density. Two RP-80 detonators simultaneously push steel bars into the reactive material and the resulting compression causes shock compaction of the material and rapid heating. At that point one observes significant reaction and propagation of fronts. But the fronts are peculiar in that they are comprised of reactive events that can be traced to the reaction of the initially separated reactants of copper oxide and aluminum that react at their mutual interfaces, that nominally make copper liquid and aluminum oxide products. We discuss our model of the ignition of the copper oxide aluminum thermite in the context of the striker experiment and how a Gibbs formulation model [1], that includes multicomponents for liquid and solid phases of aluminum, copper oxide, copper and aluminum oxide, can predict the events observed at the particle scale in the experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationShock Compression of Condensed Matter - 2015
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Conference of the American Physical Society Topical Group on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter
EditorsRamon Ravelo, Thomas Sewell, Ricky Chau, Timothy Germann, Ivan I. Oleynik, Suhithi Peiris
PublisherAmerican Institute of Physics Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9780735414570
StatePublished - Jan 13 2017
Event19th Biennial American Physical Society Conference on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter, SCCM 2015 - Tampa, United States
Duration: Jun 14 2015Jun 19 2015

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


Other19th Biennial American Physical Society Conference on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter, SCCM 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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