Background: There is increasing academic and industrial interest in fabricating reactive
metal and metalloid nanoparticles for a number of energetics applications.
Objective: Because of inherent thermodynamic instability, the greatest challenge for producing such
metal nanoparticles is to kinetically stabilize their high surface areas toward reactive atmospheric
constituents. Such stabilization can effectively produce nanocomposite materials that retain their high
energy content or other useful properties with a respectable shelf-life. The primary focus is to summarize
methods of synthesis and characterization of these energetically valuable nanoparticles.
Method and Results: A popular and convenient method to passivate and protect reactive metal nanoparticles
is to either graft pre-assembled polymer molecules to the nanoparticle surface or use the reactive
nanoparticle surface to initiate and propagate oligomer or polymer growth.
Conclusion: Reactive nanoparticles composed of aluminum, magnesium, zinc, titanium, or boron
may be effectively passivated, capped, and protected by a variety of organic polymers. Such treatment
mitigates degradation due to atmospheric reaction, while retaining the unique properties associated
with the metal-polymer nanocomposites.