The ignition and propagation mechanism of the self-propagating high-temperature synthesis of several cobalt and niobium aluminides was investigated. Two propagation mechanisms were identified depending on the stoichiometry of the starting mixture. Al-rich compositions propagate through a dissolution-precipitation mechanism while Al-poor mixtures require solid state diffusion. The ignition temperatures were measured by means of microthermocouples in quasi-adiabatic conditions through experiments carried out in thermal explosion mode. Ignition temperatures were found to be characteristic of each system and to depend strongly on reactants particle size. Ignition energies for all compositions were evaluated through a mathematical model.
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