Doping of Al/CuO with microwave absorbing Ti3C2 MXene for improved ignition and combustion performance

Jian Cheng, Zehua Zhang, Yueting Wang, Fuwei Li, Jinle Cao, Michael Gozin, Yinghua Ye, Ruiqi Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nanothermites have a wide application in many civil and defense applications, including propulsion and detonations systems, micro-electromechanical (MEMs) and other systems that require fast energy release rate and low ignition temperature. Traditional ignition methods are commonly based on surface excitation (spot ignition), possessing a risk of undesired ignition. Safe and selective microwave (MW)-based igniting systems can interact with an ignitable material (typically a thermite) over its full volume at once. Unfortunately, thermites have low susceptibility to MW due to the presence of Al2O3 oxide shell on Al particles, which would commonly require a high ignition power of MW radiation and long ignition delay times. In this work, Ti3C2 MXene was introduced as a MW susceptor into Al/CuO energetic nanocomposites. The samples were ignited using a MW probe, showing that the introduction of MXene into Al/CuO/MXene could significantly reduce the power required for its MW ignition, as well as shorten the ignition delay time versus the parent Al/CuO nanothermite. Besides, presence of MXene could modulate and control a heat release, gas production and combustion performance of the Al/CuO/MXene composites, substantially extending safety, flexibility and adaptability of new nanothermites to various operational requirements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number138375
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Combustion
  • Energetic materials
  • MXene
  • Microwave ignition
  • Nanothermites


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