The High Explosives Applications Facility (HEAF) is a Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration Center of Excellence for the research, development, synthesis, formulation, and characterization of explosives. HEAF is a unique, world-class facility capable of executing the full breadth and depth of explosive and energetic material research and development. Research activities in HEAF support the development of new explosives through synthesis and formulation laboratories, explosives properties testing, additive manufacturing of explosives, advanced diagnostics development, diamond-anvil experiments for basic explosives properties research, a microdetonics laboratory for explosives studies at the micrometer scale, and multiple firing tanks for explosives testing at larger scales.
Since its inception in 1989, HEAF has provided a wide variety of developmental and experimental capabilities. It has seven large fully contained firing tanks for testing explosive quantities from less than 1 gram up to 10 kilograms (22 pounds). The facility also has a 100-mm propellant-driven gun capable of firing projectiles at up to 2,500 meters per second and a two-stage, light gas gun capable of firing projectiles at 5,500 meters per second.
Our team of chemists, physicists, engineers, and technicians make major contributions in many areas of national security. The facility is a key contributor in the stockpile stewardship mission and ongoing life extension programs, assuring the safety, reliability, and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear weapons. It is a source of subject matter expertise in the development of conventional weapons and toolsets for the Department of Defense’s warfighters and law enforcement responders. HEAF scientists also apply their expertise to counterterrorism, studying ways to detect and defeat improvised explosive devices and counter the threat of homemade explosives. No other facility in the world supports such a multidisciplinary, multifaceted mission under one roof.