The influence of pore size and oxidising agent on the energetic properties of porous silicon

Andrew Plummer, Helen Cao, Richard Dawson, Rachel Lowe, Joe Shapter, Nicolas H. Voelcker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOtherpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The explosive properties of porous silicon (pSi) provide an alternative to existing carbon-based explosives. Here, an investigation into these explosive properties is conducted, by introducing an oxidiser onto freshly etched pSi films with varying pore sizes as determined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Explosions are triggered via the application of an electric spark. Light output and spectral data are collected to characterize the explosion. Measurements of light output indicate that sodium perchlorate produces the most brilliant explosions, however spectral data indicate that aluminium and gadolinium nitrates produce hotter explosions. The energy output is measured by means of Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), indicating that almost 9 kJ/g is released, double that released by the detonation of TNT. The energetic material cyclo-1,3,5-trimethylene-2,4,6- trinitramine (RDX) is added to investigate a method of improving explosive performance of pSi, with disappointing results.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventSmart Materials V - Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Duration: 10 Dec 200812 Dec 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceSmart Materials V
CityMelbourne, VIC


  • Energetic material
  • Explosive
  • Porous silicon
  • RDX

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