Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Thermal Kinetics and Dynamics (TKD)

Our team focuses on understanding the behavior of secondary high explosives

Contact Us  

  • Group Leader
  • Kirk Rector
  • Deputy Group Leader
  • Jeff Pietryga
  • Team Leader
  • Laura Smilowitz
  • Group Office
  • (505) 667-7121
R&D 100 Award Finalist "LARS"

The Lab-scale Asynchronous Radiographic System (LARS) is a small-scale radiography device for continuous high-speed x-ray imaging of spontaneous dynamic events, such as explosions, reaction-front propagation, and material failure. C-PCS researchers and collaborators at CoRELabs developed this technology, which was recognized as a finalist for a 2015 R&D Magazine “R&D 100 Award.”

Our team is focused on understanding the behavior of secondary high explosives under abnormal stimuli such as fires

We have developed a novel suite of table-top x-ray radiography tools to enable direct observation of thermal explosions. The results of these studies are directly incorporated into our thermodynamically based models to provide a global chemical kinetic model for secondary high explosives.

A better understanding of explosive ignition
Scientists in the Weapons Chemistry and Chemical Physics team have created a "tabletop" dynamic radiography experiment.A better understanding of explosive ignition.

The table-sized X-ray imaging apparatus enables X-ray imaging of sub-sonic dynamic events, such as thermal explosions, on a routine basis.

The small-scale aspect of both the experiment and the X-ray cinematography allows many more experiments to be performed. This approach provides a means to optimize experiments planned for larger radiographic facilities such as proton radiography.

Laura Smilowitz - Weapons ChemistryLaura Smilowitz of the Weapons Chemistry team received a 2014 Distinguished Performance Award for developing a new x-ray imaging capability. Her work culminated in the use of using a penetrating radiographic technique to study dynamic, spontaneous phenomena, which has the potential to transform our understanding of the thermal response of energetic materials.

Brian Henson - 2013 Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)Bryan Henson of the weapons chemistry team was selected as a 2013 Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his distinguished contributions in the fields of physical chemistry and molecular spectroscopy. Singled out was his work on the application of second harmonic generation to the study of organic explosives.


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