Hypergolic materials ignite on contact with oxidants. Researchers at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, USA, and colleagues have found that they can suspend boron nanoparticles in a hypergolic energetic ionic liquid (IL). ILs have little vapor pressure, which makes them intrinsically safer to handle than volatile explosive liquids. Boron has been studied as an energetic additive for hypergolic materials, but its passivating oxide layer means it only ignites above 1500 °C. The formation of non-coated nanoparticles of boron suspended in an ionic liquid offers the energetics boost without the passivation.
The boron-containing 1-methyl-4-amino-1,2,4-triazolium dicyanamide IL might find applications where the lack of stability of compounds like hydrazine precludes their use.
- Hypergolic ionic liquids to mill, suspend, and ignite boron nanoparticles,
P. D. McCrary, P. A. Beasley, O. A. Cojocaru, S. Schneider, T. W. Hawkins, J. P. L. Perez, B. W. McMahon, M. Pfeil, J. A. Boatz, S. L. Anderson, S. F. Son, R. D. Rogers,
Chem. Commun. 2012.