Research Capabilities

The AXPRO Group maintains two research facilities: the Explosive Research Laboratory (ERL) in Idaho Springs, CO; and the Small-Scale Laboratory (SSL) on the CSM campus in Golden, CO. 
These facilities maintain the capability to: warning sign at outside explosives lab

  • Measure explosive energy and post-detonation gases 
  • Experimentally test energetic material performance 
  • Experimentally study and test the properties of high-density ammonium nitrate to develop industry quality control standards 
  • Study fragmentation using novel methods in a variety of materials 
  • Study the environmental effects of blasting, including measurements of air overpressure and ground vibration 

In addition, AXPRO provides services and technical consulting for industry partners as part of the CSM AXPRO consortium. 
AXPRO research facilities are also used to offer world-class explosives training for a variety of government and private groups.

Large-Scale Test Site – The Explosive Research Laboratory (ERL)

The Explosive Research Laboratory is a 2000-acre property in Idaho Springs, CO with the goal of being a world leader in explosives testing and characterization. The laboratory consists of multiple test sites and support facilities. The test site has high-security cameras around the parameters and security card access with high Support facilities include an on-site office; preparation/changing room; and a machine shop. The laboratory is fully equipped for electricity, internet, and phone service as well as access to earth moving and other heavy equipment. The site has explosive storage limited 40,000 lbs according to ATF and state explosive permits. The ERL has an established Net Explosive Weight (NEW) up to 80 lb open-air detonation.

Small-Scale Blast Chamber (SSL)

The SSL consists of several laboratories on the CSM campus in Brown Building. On campus AXPRO laboratories include an indoor blasting chamber, vacuum chamber, and rock fragmentation laboratory. Support facilities include a sample preparation lab; machine shop; fully equipped offices, meeting rooms, classrooms, two outdoor type two magazines, and one indoor type two magazine with fire protection cabinet. The SSL has a 20 grams performance testing limit and includes free-field and underwater aquarium testing.

High-Fidelity Mobile Detonation Physics Laboratory (HFMDPL)

Recognizing that not all testing can be done in a laboratory environment or at our facilities in Colorado, the AXPRO team has developed the only available High Fidelity Mobile Detonation Physics Laboratory (HFMDPL) in the world. The HFMDPL is a state of the art mobile laboratory, which enables the most precise measurement of detonation properties of both ideal and non-ideal detonations. The HFMDPL enables the AXPRO team to conduct full field-scale testing at any test range location based on client/partner requirements. 

Specialized Instrumentation

  • 4 channel flash X-ray 450KV
  • 8 channel – Photon Doppler Velocimetry (PDV)
  • High-Speed Cameras: Phantom v711, Phantom v7.3 and Photron Fastcam SA-X2
  • Ultra-High-Speed Camera: SIM X16 (up to 7 million frames per second)
  • Lighting Systems: Alien Bees Flash Unit B1600 and Megasun 15kJ 700us pulse
  • Velocity of Detonation (VOD) instrumentation: MREL Microtrap (4 channels), MREL Handitrap (2 handhelds)
  • Manganin Gauges
  • Free-field piezoelectric pressure sensors: PCB127A23 and PCB103B02 series
  • Underwater pressure sensors: PCB138A10 series
  • Signal conditioners: PCB482C05
  • Delay generating modules: Standford DG535
  • Oscilloscopes: 4 DPO 72004C (100 GS/s) and 2 MSO 5054 (5GS/s)
  • Initiation Systems: Exploding-Bridgewire (EBW), electric, electronic, shock tube, and remote wireless firing devices
  • Vibrational Spectroscopy: RAMAN (Ahura) and FT-IR(True-Defender)
  • Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry: Griffin 460


workers setting up blast material


staff talking at reception

Fundraising Document

student at blast site taking notes

Center of Education Dedicated to Explosives Research and Education