Date of Award

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics


Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Steven F. Son

Committee Chair

Steven F. Son

Committee Member 1

Stephan Beaudoin

Committee Member 2

Wayne Chen

Committee Member 3

Lori J. Groven


A small-scale characterization test utilizing microwave interferometry was developed to dynamically measure detonation and run to detonation distance in explosives. The technique was demonstrated by conducting two experimental series on the well-characterized explosive triaminotrinitrobenzene (TATB). In the first experiment series, the detonation velocity was observed at varying porosity. The velocity during TATB detonation matched well with predictions made using CHEETAH and an empirical relation from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The microwave interferometer also captured unsteady propagation of the reaction when a low density charge was near the failure diameter. In the second experiment series, Pop-plots were produced using data obtained from shock initiation of the TATB through a polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) attenuator. The results compared well to wedge test data from LANL despite the microwave interferometer test being of substantially smaller scale. The results showed the test method is attractive for rapid characterization of new and improvised explosive materials.