Explosive Science - Advanced: online course

Contact information

For further information or to request a quotation, please contact the Professional Education Courses Unit on:

Enquiries Phone: 02 5114 5573

Enquiries Email: ProfEdCourses@adfa.edu.au

In-house delivery

UNSW Canberra Professional Education Courses may be available for in-house delivery at your organisation's premises. In-house courses allow maximum attendance without the additional travel costs. Courses can be developed to suit the specific staff development and training needs of your organisation. Recommended for groups of 10 or more.

This five-day, 10-module online simulcast course will equip the students with a comprehensive view of Explosive Materials and provide participants with an introduction to chemistry and its application to detonable material systems. Mechanisms of deflagration and detonation as well as the effects of explosive blast will also be explored.

This full course comprises of 10 modules each of which correspond to approximately 3 hours of directed learning activity.

Course Leaning Objectives

At the end of this course, the student will be able to:

LO1 Explain basic chemical principles relevant to explosives science, including stoichiometry, chemical bonding, intermolecular forces, thermochemistry and reaction kinetics (including detonation vs deflagration);

LO2 Discuss the differences between types of explosives;

LO3 Explain the application for each type of explosive and show how each type can be used in an explosive train;

LO4 Discuss IM-compliant munitions;

LO5 Explain the different types of stimuli that will lead to detonation of an explosive;

LO6 Explain the way a detonation evolves within the explosive composition and how these waves are sustained;

LO7 Describe shock-wave theory (including equations-of-state); Rankine-Hugoniot theory and C-J theory.




Paul has over 20 years of experience studying the impact behaviour of materials. He has recently moved to Canberra, Australia from the UK to take up the post of Professor of Impact Dynamics at UNSW Canberra. Before taking this position he was Head of the Centre for Ordnance Science and Technology at Cranfield University’s Shrivenham campus (at the UK Defence Academy). He has published extensively, appeared in several documentaries and presented his research work at numerous symposia. He has published two books on protection technologies with the most recent called ‘ARMOUR: Materials, Theory, and Design’ (CRC Press). 

Adrian Garrido Sanchis


Dr. Adrian Garrido Sanchis is a Chemical Engineer that works as an Associate Lecturer at UNSW School of Science, in Canberra, where he lectures chemical and biological weapons and explosives. He specializes on developing new technologies for explosive detection and the purification and sterilization of wastewater from bench to commercial scale applications. He has pioneered the development of a novel sterilization process, which has been adopted by Australian Pork Limited (APL), who have recently funded his research and have funded the development and construction of a small scale water treatment pilot unit which has been trialled at a piggeries water treatment plant in NSW. He submitted a provisional patent application via UNSW to seek protection for this new process.

Adrian has substantial experience in commercial R&D and a unique range of abilities and skill set in water treatment and automation/environmental monitoring through IoT devices.

Course Information

MODULE 1:  Introduction and properties of explosives

Basic chemical and physical concepts for explosives and explosions | Organic chemical nomenclature Introduction to chemical reactions | Types of explosions | Ignition, Stability and Reactivity | Velocity of detonation (VoD) | Brisance | Density | Chemical composition | Toxicity.

MODULE 2: Thermochemistry of explosives

Explosive reactions| Oxygen balance | Volume of products of explosion | Energy from chemical reactions | Heat of explosion (Q) | Explosive power |TNT equivalence.

A session will be provided so that the student can work through some of the issues raised in this course under the guidance of the course presenter.

MODULE 3: Classification and performance of high explosives

Historical perspectives | Classification of pure explosives | Performance parameters | High Explosives| Physical and chemical aspects of detonation |Aspects of manufacturing |Applications of explosives | Tutorial

MODULE 4: Classification and performance of low explosives and pyrotechnics

Historical perspectives | Classification of pure explosives | Performance parameters | Low Explosives | Pyrotechnics | Physical and chemical aspects of combustion | Deflagration |Aspects of manufacturing | Applications of explosives | Tutorial

MODULE 5: Manufacturing, initiating and detection

Overview of some specific explosive materials| Applications | Manufacturing | Initiation and propagation of explosive reactions | Non-electric initiators | Hot-wire initiators | Exploding bridge-wire initiators | Explosive trains | Overview of explosive detection techniques | Future developments.

MODULE 6: Blast

Nature of Blast | Effects of blast on people and structures (including vehicles) | Engineering principles to protect building occupants from blast (blast mitigation) | Case studies | Introduction to Kingery-Bulmash calculations | Worked examples will be presented and discussed and students given the opportunity to do their own calculations

MODULE 7:  Shock wave theory

Introduction to waves | Calculation of the particle velocity | Elastic waves |Inelastic waves | Shock waves | Rankine-Hugoniot equations | Hugoniots | The Rayleigh line and Isentrope | X-t diagrams | Impedance matching | Calculating the pressure due to collisions | The Hugoniot Elastic Limit and its meaning | Experimental techniques | Tutorial

MODULE 8: Detonics and Insensitive Munition (IM) design

Hot-spot mechanisms | Homogeneous detonation | Deflagration-to-Detonation | Shock-to-Detonation | Chapman-Jouget (CJ) theory | ZND detonation model | The von Neumann spike | Equations of State | Why IM? | Explosive-material interaction | Streak photography techniques| Shock initiation and ‘Pop plots’ | Charge-diameter effects | Critical diameter measurements | Particle Impact Mitigation Systems | How to calculate whether your explosive will initiate when hit by a fast-moving jet or fragment | More on impedance matching and comparison to Hydrocode calculations | Tutorial questions

MODULE 9: Computational modelling

Introduction to computer codes including hydrocodes | Discretisation | Erosion models | Empirical vs analytical vs computational | Equations of state | Strength models | Failure models | Modelling metals | Modelling brittle materials | Modelling composite materials | Examples

MODULE 10: Case studies in computational modelling | Assessment

Modelling explosions and explosive effects | Modelling explosive impacts | More on Equations-of-State | Jones-Wilkins-Lee | Lee-Tarver shock initiation model | Pitfalls of computational techniques | Single Mousetrap modelling | Projectile impact modelling | The Gap Test| Discussion of results

An online test will be available for those who wish to test their knowledge and gain postgraduate credit.

Courses will be held subject to sufficient registrations. UNSW Canberra reserves the right to cancel a course up to five working days prior to commencement of the course. If a course is cancelled, you will have the opportunity to transfer your registration or be issued a full refund. If registrant cancels within 10 days of course commencement, a 50% registration fee will apply. UNSW Canberra is a registered ACT provider under ESOS Act 2000-CRICOS provider Code 00098G.