ME Graduate Student Research Featured in American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Publication

A PhD student at Sayan Biswas' Plasma Power Propulsion Lab (3P Lab), Binit Singh, is making strides in propellant development with the innovative Laser-Induced Air Shock from Energetic Materials (LASEM) technique, featured in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' (AIAA) publication, the AIAA 2023 Year in Review.

LASEM evaluates shock velocity by using a high-energy laser pulse on small solid fuel samples, offering a tailored approach to propellant development. Why does this matter? Nanoenergetic materials, crucial for propulsion, boast high energy density and faster burn rates compared to traditional propellants. Here's the scoop: 3P Lab is taking a physics-driven approach, tailoring nano-sized aluminum particle morphology (coating, size/shape, orientation) to unravel the multi-stage combustion dynamics. When hit with a high-energy laser pulse, these particles undergo a two-stage combustion process, influencing shock speed and allowing exploration of metal nanoparticle combustion nuances.

What makes LASEM a game-changer? It provides a cost-effective way to test new propellant formulations using small samples, bypassing the need for expensive kilogram-sized testing during initial material discovery period. Result? Significant savings in both cost and effort. 

Thanks to our collaborators at the Army Research Lab, supporters, and advocates in this research endeavor!

Story by Sayan Biswas

Screenshot of combustion computer simulation