Melting point of aluminum oxide

Cover imageA depression of melting point for natural alumina film covering aluminum is predicted.

The melting point can be reduced by 200–400 K for common natural alumina film thicknesses.

Experiments support predicted depression in the melting point of alumina film.

The protective aluminum oxide film naturally formed on a surface of aluminum has a thickness in the range of 3–5 nm. Its melting causes loss of its continuity, which may significantly affect the ignition and combustion processes and their relative time scales. Melting of the alumina film also plays an important role when aluminum powders are used to prepare composites and/or being sintered. This letter quantifies depression of the melting point of an alumina film based on its nano-meter thickness. A theoretical estimate is supported by experiments relying on a detected change in the optical properties of naturally oxidized aluminum particles heated in an inert environment.

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