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Washington State University Institute for Shock Physics

Dynamic Compression Research

Dynamic compression experiments (shock wave and shockless compression) subject materials to unique conditions (very large compressions, high temperatures, and large deformations) on very short time scales (picosecond to microsecond), resulting in a rich array of physical and chemical changes. Research activities related to the dynamic compression of materials are extremely diverse and challenging. As such, the Institute for Shock Physics aims to strengthen ongoing efforts to enhance the long-term intellectual vitality of dynamic compression science, a field uniquely suited for studying/understanding material response under extreme conditions.  ISP researchers take a synergistic approach involving theory and computations, static and dynamic experiments utilizing high pressure temperature, continuum measurements, laser spectroscopy, and x-ray capabilities at the Institute and unique national facilities to gain insight into detailed material behavior and transformations. A representative list of the important scientific challenges in the field of dynamic compression of materials is presented below.

  • Structural transformations, including melting and freezing, in shocked materials
  • Strength and spall measurements in shocked metals, ceramics, liquids, polymers, and glasses
  • Inelastic deformation and fracture
  • Chemical reactions and decomposition in shocked energetic materials
  • Optical studies in shocked semiconductors

Representative Characteristics of Experiments

  • Ultrafast measurements in real time ranging from picoseconds to microseconds
  • Very large pressures ranging from 10,000 – 2,500,000 atmospheres
  • Extreme velocities ranging from 100 m/s to 6000 m/s (224 mph – 13,000 mph)

Institute facilities and equipment used to generate extreme conditions in the laboratory can be viewed by clicking here.