Many high-temperature structural and thermoelectric materials can be fabricated by combustion synthesis, which harnesses heat generated by an exothermic reaction between constituent powders. Currently, interest in using this approach is growing because it requires small amounts of energy, uses simple equipment, and often generates pure and non-equilibrium products. Also, in space applications where energy is limited, the use of exothermic chemical reactions is a promising approach to making materials and structures. Here we will present our recent results on the combustion synthesis of high-temperature structural materials, such as molybdenum borosilicides and zirconium diboride, combustion of magnesium with lunar and Martian regolith, and combustion joining of regolith tiles for launch/landing pads. The presentation will conclude with a brief review of several promising directions in the heterogeneous combustion area.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He received his doctorate from the Institute of Chemical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, in 1988 and his master’s degree from the Department of Aerospace Propulsion, Moscow Aviation Institute, in 1981. Prior to joining UTEP in 2008, he conducted research at the Russian Academy of Sciences, CNRS (Orléans, France), the University of Notre Dame, and Purdue University. His research interests include heterogeneous combustion of energetic and gas-generating materials, green monopropellants, combustion synthesis of advanced materials for propulsion and power applications, and in-situ resource utilization. Currently, he serves as the principal investigator for five projects sponsored by AFOSR, DOE, NASA, NSF, and ONR. He is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and an associate editor of the International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion. He has also served as a faculty advisor for ten student teams conducting microgravity experiments at NASA Johnson Space Center.