Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Thermal Kinetics and Dynamics (TKD)

Our team focuses on understanding the behavior of secondary high explosives

Contact Us  

  • Group Leader (Acting)
  • Harshini Mukundan
  • Deputy Group Leader (Acting)
  • Kristy Nowak-Lovato
  • 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.

X-ray transmission image

The Thermal Kinetics and Dynamic team, led by Laura Smilowitz employs fast X-ray transmission and other diagnostics to visualize detonator firing and initiation in 9502 to understand the mechanism of action and improve explosive safety.

Laura Smilowitz

Laura Smilowitz was elected as both a Laboratory Fellow and a Fellow of the American association for Advancement of Science. She is an expert in the dynamic/thermal response of energetic materials and high-speed diagnostics, and is also an authority in experiments applied to key materials relevant to nuclear weapons, conventional defense and global security.