SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1986

Burn Propagation Rates of Metals and Alloys in Gaseous Oxygen


The average burn rates of several metals and alloys were determined at oxygen pressures between 3.45 and 68.91 MPa (500 and 10 000 psig) and ambient temperature. Several materials were tested at elevated sample temperatures. The test materials were fabricated into solid cylindrical rods and mounted vertically in the test chamber. A magnesium igniter was positioned at the bottom end of each test specimen to promote upward burn propagations.

Nickel 200 and copper 102 could not be ignited at all oxygen pressures tested whereas Monel 400 appeared to ignite but quickly self-extinguished. The other materials tested burned the entire length of the test sample. Aluminum 6061 exhibited the fastest burn propagation rate. Inconel 718 burned slower than aluminum but faster than the stainless steels (Types 304 and 316).

Increasing oxygen pressure generally increased the burn propagation rate of the materials. Increasing the ambient temperature of the test specimens for several materials to approximately 850 K (1070°F) had little effect upon the ignition or burn properties of Nickel 200 or Monel 400. Type 316 stainless steel exhibited an increase in its burn propagation rate at this higher temperature.

Author Information

Benz, FJ
NASA, Johnson Space Center, White Sands Test Facility, Laboratories Test Office, Las Cruces, NM
Shaw, RC
Lockheed/EMSCO, Johnson Space Center, White Sands Test Facility, Las Crues, NM
Homa, JM
Lockheed/EMSCO, Johnson Space Center, White Sands Test Facility, Las Crues, NM
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Developed by Committee: G04
Pages: 135–152
DOI: 10.1520/STP19314S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-4976-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0474-7