Los Alamos National Laboratory has successfully fired the latest in a series of experiments at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). The experiment provides important surrogate hydrodynamic materials data in support of NNSA’s mission.
The experiment, dubbed Leda, was conducted on Aug. 12, 2014, and consisted of plutonium surrogate material and high explosives to implode a "weapon-relevant geometry."
Hydrodynamic experiments such as Leda involve non-nuclear surrogate materials that mimic many of the properties of nuclear materials. Hydrodynamics refers to the physics involved when solids, under extreme conditions, begin to mix and flow like liquids. Other hydrodynamic experiments conducted at NNSS use small amounts of nuclear material, and are called "sub-critical" because they do not contain enough material to cause a nuclear explosion.
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About the photos:
(Above) Technicians at the Nevada National Security Site move the "Leda" experiment in a specially designed container from the Device Assembly Facility. LANL photo.
(Below) Technicians at the Nevada National Security Site make final adjustments to the "Leda" experimental vessel in the "Zero Room" at the underground U1a facility.