Burning metal powder as fuel

Thread Starter

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,775
Add a little powdered aluminum and you get some real heat, thermite. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermite
We had some in a safe for emergency equipment destruction.
https://www.nsa.gov/Portals/70/docu...s/cryptologic-histories/history_comsec_ii.pdf
EMERGENCY DESTRUCTION OF CRYPTO-EQUIPMENT
(S) 'fhe most successful use of pyrotechnics (thermate slabs, thermite grenades, and sodium nitrate barrels)
in Teheran occurred at the major Army Communications Center there. It had a number of cryptoequipments,
but also served as a depot for pyrotechnic materials for the whole area. They piled all of their
classified cryptomaterial in a shed; covered them with their pyrotechnic material (some 300 devices), lit off
the whole enchilada, and took off. The result was probably the largest single conftagration during the entire
revolution. Observers reported seeing flames shooting hundreds of feet into the air from posts several miles
away. The building was, of course, consumed, and we assume only a slag pile remains. (At this writing,
about 15 months later, no American has been back.)
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
27,903
One interesting idea is to use it to power a Stirling or Steam Engine (such as the Cyclone) powered automobile.
Could be refueled a lot faster than an electric car battery or need an expensive recharging station.
 
Last edited:

Chris65536

Joined Nov 11, 2019
270
One interesting idea is to use it to power a Stirling or Steam Engine (such as the Cyclone) powered automobile.
Combustion of iron is 5.8 MJ/kg, while gasoline is 44 MJ/kg. So a 16 gallon tank of gas weighs around 46 kg, and an equivalent amount of iron fuel would be 350 kg. The iron oxide "exhaust" would weigh even more. The car would get heavier as it drives! All this does not sound impossible, but maybe impractical.
 

Thread Starter

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,775
Combustion of iron is 5.8 MJ/kg, while gasoline is 44 MJ/kg. So a 16 gallon tank of gas weighs around 46 kg, and an equivalent amount of iron fuel would be 350 kg. The iron oxide "exhaust" would weigh even more. The car would get heavier as it drives! All this does not sound impossible, but maybe impractical.
A Tesla car battery ~ 500 kg @ 1 MJ/kg
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
27,903
Combustion of iron is 5.8 MJ/kg, while gasoline is 44 MJ/kg. So a 16 gallon tank of gas weighs around 46 kg, and an equivalent amount of iron fuel would be 350 kg. The iron oxide "exhaust" would weigh even more. The car would get heavier as it drives! All this does not sound impossible, but maybe impractical.
Good point.
I think the iron oxide (Fe2O3) will be about twice the weight of the unburned iron.
 
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