Surface Oxidation Dynamics in Metal Powers for Energy Carriers and Energetic Materials

Interdisciplinary Areas: Defense related projects (for US citizens only)

Project Description

Rapid oxidation of many molten metals generates semi-rigid oxide skins. The ability to quantify and tailor oxidation rates and the thermo-mechanical properties of oxide skins are critical to several emerging applications, including additive manufacturing, energetic materials, and future carbon-free energy carrier concepts. Several of these applications are characterized by high-speed and high-temperature flows, where metal particulates are strongly modified by shockwaves and aerodynamic forces. The propensity of the oxide skin to fragment under these conditions and expose bare metal to oxidizers will strongly affect rates of combustion and successful utilization of energy storage potentials. To elucidate these dynamics, the proposed work will combine fundamental materials science measures of oxide skin properties with shock-tube facilities and particle burners in the Purdue Energetics Research Center (PERC) and the Center for Particulate Products and Processes (CP3). This multidisciplinary project will also examine concepts to tailor oxidation behavior through development of novel coatings, mechanical activation, and alloying. Finally, the successful post-doctoral fellow will have the opportunity to partner with many researchers applying metal powers to energetics and energy storage in PERC, CP3, and elsewhere in the Schools of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Engineering.


Start Date

Fall, 2023


Postdoc Qualifications

-PhD in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Engineering, or related field
-Research experience in particle processing, metallurgy, interfacial dynamics, and/or experimental diagnostics
-Knowledge of combustion and/or metal oxidation



Daniel Guildenbecher, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering,

David Bahr, Head and Professor of Materials Engineering,


Short Bibliography

Mechanical measurements of passive film fracture on an austenitic stainless steel, D Rodriguez-Marek, DF Bahr, M Pang - Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A, 2003

Deformation and fracture of a mudflat-cracked laser-fabricated oxide on Ti, SK Lawrence, DP Adams, DF Bahr, NR Moody - Journal of Materials Science, 2013

Fabrication, structure, and performance of a microfabricated gallium electrical switch contact. Y Kim, JA Reid, DF Bahr - Journal of Materials Research, 2011

Galinstan liquid metal breakup and droplet formation in a shock-induced cross-flow, Y Chen, JL Wagner, PA Farias, EP DeMauro… - International Journal of Multiphase Flow, 2018

Study of aluminum particle combustion in solid propellant plumes using digital in-line holography and imaging pyrometry, Y Chen, DR Guildenbecher, KNG Hoffmeister… - Combustion and Flame, 2017