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Electric field effects in the thermal decomposition of solids

Naturevolume 301pages4849 (1983) | Download Citation



The ability to ‘tune’ or even alter the thermal decomposition behaviour of solid materials is of practical interest, for example in their use as rocket propellents. During a study of the electrical conductivity of technologically-important materials1,2, we became intrigued by the possibility of altering their thermal stability by imposition of an electric field across the heated samples. Our observations of d.c. electric field effects on the thermal decomposition of some model compounds are presented here. We have applied differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to probe these effects. The DSC apparatus and the sample holder arrangement in particular was modified to permit application of an electric field across the heated sample. We have found that, in certain cases, the decomposition temperature can be lowered by as much as 100 °C in the presence of an electric field.

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    • R. Rosenvold
    •  & J. DuBow

    Present address: College of Engineering, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, 02215, USA


  1. Department of Electrical Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, 80523, USA

    • K. Rajeshwar
    • , R. Rosenvold
    •  & J. DuBow


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