Dynamic loading (shock wave and shockless compression) experiments 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, our 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 for Shock Physics and at unique national facilities, such as third-generation synchrotron x-ray sources.
The shock physics effort at Washington State University has a 60+ year history of research excellence and leadership in the field. Recent examples of research in the dynamic response of materials include projects such as optical stress sensors, new ways to clean up contaminated soils, and the potential for improved, lighter weight armor.