Dynamic loading 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. Materials behave differently depending on pressure and temperature as well as the rates of compression and deformation. To gain insight into detailed material behavior and transformations, the ISP researchers take a synergistic approach involving theory and computations, static and dynamic experiments utilizing high pressures and temperatures, continuum measurements, laser spectroscopy, and x-ray capabilities at the Institute and unique national facilities.
Using state-of-the-art equipment and diagnostics, material response is examined at different length scales in real time during shock wave and static high-pressure experiments. Faculty and students also interact with scientific personnel at the DOE National Laboratories (Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia).