Current Research Trust

The current research trust is in detonation physics and shock wave phenomena. This research work-studies the Equation of State for non-ideal explosives such as are Ammonium nitrate and diesel fuel base explosives (ANFO). The current research results using aquarium testing using seven inches and six-inch tubes and smaller to study the detonation properties. Detonation in explosives mixtures unconfined allow for transport of detonation energy ahead of the detonation front due to the physical connection between the AN prills. At present, this phenomenon is not well understood. With slowly detonating, non-ideal high explosives systems becoming increasingly prevalent, proper understanding and prediction of the performance of the explosives is desirable. Using the aquarium technique with a combination of high-speed imaging and cylindrical testing for explosive energy will help establish an equation of state that can characterize non-ideal explosives.

AXPRO has a High Fidelity Mobile Detonation Laboratory capable of running full instrumentation and testing of multiple data collection and camera views, the largest of which tests above 100 lbs of explosives, conducted remotely in different test sites.

The AXPRO Group is involved in a wide range of research activities.

Current Projects

Initiation Systems for Oil and Gas Perforating Guns

Sponsor—Pioneer Wireline Services LLC

The investigation tested specifically for failures of detonation. Although much of the testing was concerned with the fluids, some testing was done to ensure that procedural error on the field was not the cause of failure. AXPRO team is conducting the research on performance of initiation systems for fluid disabled functions.

Post-blast Fumes


Validating different explosive mixtures of ANFO base explosives in the blast chamber for Nox or other gases using two different Multi-gas detectors technique. We will have a post-blast fume chamber, where precise, repeatable measurements will be conducted using a combination of high-speed imaging of detonation phenomena. This data will be collected to better understand non-ideal explosives.

Case-blasting for Avalanche Control

Sponsor—Colorado Department of Transportation

Colorado Department of Transportation is seeking to validate new methods for avalanche control. This method is using ANFO charges to mitigate avalanche danger. AXPRO team will validate and recommend guidelines for use and safety distances.

Pressure Wave Tube Cleaning Characterization and Tube Damage Mitigation

Sponsor—Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)

The purpose of this project is to characterize the “Bang & Clean” cleaning technology and compare this technology with current explosive cleaning technologies (i.e., dynamite, detonating cord). AXPRO team will conduct this research in conjunction with Xcel Energy and collaboration with explosive cleaning vendors and experts.

Blast Shield for Avalanche Control

Sponsor—Colorado Department of Transportation

Cdot sought optimized blast shield construction and parameters for state safe distance for crew and public during operation of Avalauncher. AXPRO team is helping to develop safety criteria for using blast shield during avalanche control operations. The Phase II is in progress

Effects of Confinement and Containment on Ammonium Nitrate Prills Used in Explosive Applications

Sponsor – Lubrizol

This project is focused on the study of agriculture-grade and explosive-grade ammonium nitrate prills used in ANFO explosives. AXPRO is performing research studies on the potential cost-savings and effectiveness of this method of rock breaking as well as working with industry to introduce this information to the market.

CDOT Research Study 30.70 – Helicopter Avalanche Control

Sponsor – Colorado Department of Transportation

AXPRO is working on safety improvements and cost savings through the study and modification of current helicopter avalanche control techniques. Safety improvements may be made through changes in methods of charge preparation and initiation, charge release from helicopter, duration of flights and avalanche control related traffic delays. CDOT and AXPRO have partnered with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and Loveland Ski Area to conduct the experimental portion of this research.

Quality Control of Internationally Supplied AN-prill for use in US Markets

Sponsor – industry partner (non-disclosure agreement applies)

AXPRO group has been asked to develop and conduct simple, standardized quality control testing for Ammonium Nitrate Prills. AXPRO will conduct tests to evaluate the effect of different types or qualities of prills, as well as the effects of ANFO aging, on blasting performance. These quality control methods are necessary due to the ever-increasing presence of low-quality Ammonium Nirate prills in the American market. A method of modifying ANFO to use these prills effectively has been developed by our industry partner and will be evaluated by AXPRO as an independent testing laboratory for the U.S market. Ammonium Nitrate for this project is being supplied by a variety of producers from around the world.

Numerical Modeling of Rock Fragmentation using Explosives

Sponsor – industry partner (non-disclosure agreement applies)

The AXPRO team is developing a validated numerical model in ANSYS AUTODYN for the prediction of explosively driven rock fragmentation in pre-stressed rock masses.

Technical Reports

  • C. Hurley, P. Harmon, Vilem Petr “Explosive Welding Studies using Aluminum and Titanium – Metallurgical Testing Report,” Submitted to Air Force Research Laboratory, July 2009
  • V. Petr, C. Hurley, “Explosive Welding Studies using Aluminum and Titanium – Metallurgical Testing Report,” Submitted to Air Force Research Laboratory, June 2009
  • V. Petr, C. Hurley, P. Harmon, “Studies on Crater Geometry Using 1.5-gram of High Explosive Charge in Atmospheric Pressure and Vaccum,” Submitted to Ball Aerospace, June 2009
  • V. Petr, S. Liu, D.L. Olson, J.C. Madeni, C. Trickel, “Mitigation of Boiler Tubing Damage from use of Explosive Cleaning Methods”, Electrical Power Research Institute ? EPRI Report # 1016245, 110 pp., January 2008.
  • S. Liu, V. Petr, D.L. Olson, J.C. Madeni, C. Trickel, and R. Hellner, “Explosive Cleaning Boiler Tube Damage Mitigation, Report: Phase 1-2007”, CSM Report MT-CWJCR-007-006, submitted to Electric Power Research Institute, 88 pp., November 2007.

Archive: Documents