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phD thesis on the modelling of reactional kinetic in Al/CuO nanothermite

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Français - Anglais

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General information

Reference : UPR8001-CARROS-007
Workplace : TOULOUSE
Date of publication : Thursday, August 01, 2019
Scientific Responsible name : Carole Rossi et Alain Esteve
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 15 October 2019
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

Alumino-thermite materials, also called thermite, represent an interesting class of IC compatible energetic substances because of their high volumetric energy densities (up to 16 kJ/cm3), adiabatic flame temperature (> 2600 °C), and high reaction (burn) rates in the case of nanostructures. They feature an oxidation-reduction reaction involving Aluminum (Al) and a metallic oxide, which forms a stable product after reaction and have better combustion efficiencies, better ignitability compared to typical explosives, and are much safer. These nanostructures result in dramatically increased burn rate and ignition response while maintaining high combustion temperatures. As a result, the last decades have seen a significant and notable growth of the field of research mostly in the USA and China focused on the optimization of the surface area to maximize the contact between Al and oxide components. It has been experimentally demonstrated that a variety of different combustion effects can be obtained by manipulating the reactive system (Al and oxide) at the nanoscale. More recently, thermite materials have also been shown to generate gas species or pressure bursts, opening new potential applications, such as biological agent inactivation, or propulsion systems.
Despite the excellent performances and properties of nanothermites, the community is still struggling to translate the fundamental materials advances reported in the scientific literature into tangible applications. It is now important to develop theoretical tools to accurately describe the reactional kinetic during the combustion of such reactive systems systems. It is not an easy task as the Al/oxide complex reaction mechanisms involve multi-phases dynamics (gaseous, condensed) that are very fast (100 m/s) and mostly in non-equilibrium conditions.
The goal of the phD thesis is to describe the reactional steps and set up all the physicochemical models that describe the of Al/CuO nanothermite combustion in a close chamber. Then, the model will be integrated into a CFD model to describe the evolution of pressure and temperature as a function of the environment.

Work Context

The phD student will be a key member of a research group (NEO) in LAAS at Toulouse which is internationnally recognized for its contribution in pyroMEMS. Faculty and staff at NEO-group have joined efforts to form an interdisciplinary team with an overriding focus on NanoThermites. The team awarded 2.5 M€ grant from European Research Council to study multifunctional nano-energetic materials and develop a variety of characterization techniques to study theoretically the combustion in such materials.

Constraints and risks


Additional Information

Expertise in one of the following topics is mandatory for application : Numerical analysis, CFD, Reacting Fluids, Micro/Macro scale combustion.
Skill in fluid mechanics will be appreciated.

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