Disruptive burning of precursor/solvent droplets in flame-spray synthesis of nanoparticles

Christopher D. Rosebrock, Norbert Riefler, Thomas Wriedt, Lutz Mädler, Stephen D. Tse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


Flame spray pyrolysis is an established technique for synthesizing nanoparticles in the gas phase through aerosol combustion of precursor/solvent droplets. The combustion characteristics of isolated micron-sized precursor/solvent droplets are investigated experimentally. Pure solvent droplets burn uniformly and classically quasisteady, whereas precursor/solvent droplets manifest disruptive combustion behavior. The fast onset of droplet disruption, which occurs only for solutions with dissolved metal precursors, is not due to solid-particle precipitation within the droplet. Instead, the mechanism of disruptive droplet burning is similar to that of slurry droplets, consisting of three main steps: (1) diffusion-controlled burning of the high-volatile solvent, (2) viscous-shell formation due to decomposition of the low-volatile metal precursor, and (3) subsequent disruption due to heterogeneous nucleation. The time sequence of the three steps depends on the concentration and decomposition characteristics of the metal precursor, shortening with increased concentration and higher incremental decomposition temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4553-4566
Number of pages14
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


  • Decomposition
  • Disruptive burning
  • Droplet combustion
  • Flame spray pyrolysis
  • Flame synthesis

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