Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Owusu-Ofori, Samuel Dr.


The goal of the research was to contribute to the knowledge of the characteristics of aluminum particles used for thermobaric weapons (TBX). It was desired to continue the research efforts conducted to produce an effective coating process to improve the reactivity of aluminum flakes. This was done by coating the particles with magnesium and nickel in a modified Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) system. The effects of the laser deposition on the morphology and surface chemistry of the aluminum particles were studied. In this research, modifications were made to a PLD system and experiments conducted to determine the coating effectiveness of Magnesium (Mg) and Nickel (Ni) on aluminum flakes and spherical particles. The experiments were conducted in a ~10-5 Torr pressure environment. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) was used to capture images of the surface profile of particles from each sample. Comparative results from the SEM images indicated that both Mg and Ni were successfully deposited on the aluminum particles. The challenge was to obtain consistent coating over the surface of the particles. Additionally, the particles that received extended exposure to the target plume did not show significant increase in film growth. The results of this research demonstrate that the modified PLD system was able to effectively deposit a thin-film layer of metallic material onto aluminum particles but did not produce uniform surface characteristics.