A detailed study on the micro-explosion of burning iron particles in hot oxidizing environments

Jianqing Huang, Shen Li, David Sanned, Leilei Xu, Shijie Xu, Qian Wang, Mehdi Stiti, Yong Qian, Weiwei Cai, Edouard Berrocal, Mattias Richter, Marcus Aldén, Zhongshan Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As a promising carbon-free fuel, iron powder can directly combust with air and has great potential to provide clean and high-grad heat for various applications. The combustion characteristics of iron particles are of great significance for developing iron combustion model, designing efficient combustor, and optimizing combustion technologies. In this work, the micro-explosion behavior of burning iron particles was experimentally investigated based on optical diagnostics. With two high-speed cameras operating at 10,000 frames per second, the three-dimensional (3D) motion and mean surface temperature of burning iron particles during the micro-explosion process were measured using the stereo imaging technique and two-color pyrometry, respectively. The probability of micro-explosions in different oxidizing environments were statistically studied. Three distinct micro-explosion modes have been observed. The results showed that the micro-explosion of burning iron particles heavily depended on oxygen concentration. The micro-explosion would slightly reduce the particle surface temperature by 30–70 K within 0.5 ms, since a lot of smaller fragments were produced. In addition, the 3D velocity of most fragments would sharply increase to 2–6 times within 0.2 ms after the micro-explosion occurred. Regarding the mechanism of the micro-explosion, three types of potential gas sources inside the particle were discussed. The sharp gradients of gas temperature and oxygen concentration may facilitate the rapid increase of the internal pressure in the particle, which eventually causes the micro-explosion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111755
JournalCombustion and Flame
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics


  • Iron particle combustion
  • Micro-explosion
  • Optical diagnostics
  • Stereo imaging
  • Two-color pyrometry


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