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Los Alamos National Laboratory
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Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability
LANL

Explosives Center at Los Alamos National Laboratory

A world leader in energetic materials research, development and applications, the Explosives Center's unique capabilities enable a dynamic, flexible response to address multiple evolving mission needs.

explosives experiment

Comprehensive energetic materials development, characterization and testing are key strengths at Los Alamos National Laboratory. An experimental explosive is shown igniting during small-scale impact testing.

Nuclear weapons energetic materials science, technology and engineering expertise since 1943

Los Alamos novel rocket design flight tested
2:52

Los Alamos novel rocket design flight tested

Intensive study and precision use of energetic materials, central to the function of a nuclear weapon and broader national security concerns, began at Los Alamos in 1943 during the Manhattan Project.

Building upon more than 70 years of nuclear weapons energetic materials science, technology and engineering expertise, Los Alamos National Laboratory continues to define the field of energetic materials and their characteristics. The Explosives Center's capabilities include a focus on countering emerging threats such as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction and supporting the warfighter missions.

gas gun

A Los Alamos researcher installs a target in one of the research "gas guns" designed for high precision experiments on the ignition of explosives. Full-spectrum end-to-end integrated capabilities in energetic materials with nuclear application experience and modeling and simulation capabilities exist only at Los Alamos and the National Nuclear Security Administration laboratories.

Given today's evolving threats, Los Alamos' expertise plays a critical role in effectively assisting the nation’s nuclear weapons experts, intelligence analysts, homeland security assets, emergency response teams and military ground forces in detection, disablement and defeat of a wide variety of energetic materials threats. Los Alamos successes include the production of extremely safe “insensitive” explosives and the publication of the book, Detonation.



Capabilities

Homemade Explosives School
4:05

Los Alamos Guns Take Aim at Material's Mysteries

The Explosives Center at Los Alamos National Laboratory provides expertise that spans comprehensive explosives development, characterization, testing, modeling and simulation. The Center’s goals are to integrate and advance the Lab’s explosives capabilities for the modern nuclear weapons mission and a range of national security challenges, such as

  • Characterizing homemade explosives
  • Determining explosive lethality and vulnerabilities
  • Developing techniques and technologies to defeat explosives threats
  • Determining the short-and long-term effects of explosives aging
  • Performing core surveillance
  • Analyzing blast effects as well as potential mitigation
  • Characterizing shock and detonation physics properties of materials
Homemade Explosives School
2:49

Homemade Explosives School

Many unique Los Alamos specialties contribute to this important capability, including


Innovations for a secure nation

Portable MRI aids wounded soldiers, children in remote areas

Portable MRI aids wounded soldiers, children in remote areas

Scientists are developing an ultra-low-field Magnetic Resonance Imaging system that could be low-power and lightweight enough for forward deployment on the battlefield and to field hospitals in the World's poorest regions.  

» All Innovations

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Mailing Address
P.O. Box 1663
Los Alamos, NM 87545

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(505) 667-7000

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(505) 667-5061

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