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New Dynamic Equations-of-State facility opens at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Staff from NNSA and Los Alamos National Laboratory open the new shock physics research facility last month. Sheila Feddis, program manager from the Office of Safety, Infrastructure and Operations cuts the ribbon.

NNSA and Los Alamos National Laboratory staff celebrated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Dynamic Equations-of-State (DEOS) facility last month.

DEOS will conduct on-going shock physics experiments that support NNSA’s science and nuclear stockpile work.

At the new facility, lab scientists and engineers are preparing to relocate the gas and powder guns that generate fundamental, high-precision shockwave data under extreme conditions. These types of experiments are known as equation-of-state experiments. Opening the DEOS facility reaches a key agency milestone: the consolidation and modernization of the lab’s shock physics guns and their diagnostic equipment.

The new DEOS facility will co-locate four gas and powder guns and their diagnostic tools: 1) a single-stage powder gun, 2) a single-stage light gas gun, 3) a two-stage light gas gun, and 4) a large-bore (90 mm) powder gun. The new facility also houses modern experimental controls, telecommunications, and the supporting electrical and mechanical infrastructures.

“Currently, the majority of Los Alamos’s gas and powder guns and their diagnostics are housed in antiquated 1950s-era structures that are miles apart,” said Derrick Montoya, Deputy Associate Director for Los Alamos’s Weapons Engineering and Experiments program. “The DEOS facility allows us to consolidate this important capability into a single technical area, and is equipped with state-of-the-art safety measures to protect working personnel while they conduct shock physics experiments.”

The new facility will centralize two gas guns and two powder guns and their corresponding diagnostic tools and will also provide modern experimental controls and telecommunications capabilities. 

The new DEOS facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory is the first new construction project to enhance NNSA’s infrastructure modernization efforts. The project was funded by the Infrastructure Operations and Modernization program.

When the equipment installation is complete, this modern space will also reduce programmatic and operational costs. Consolidating diagnostic equipment, preparation rooms, and machining and assembling activities in one location will improve staff collaboration. As shock physics operations fully move to DEOS, it will also lead to deactivating and disposing of 5,600 square feet of aging infrastructure while reducing environmental impacts and risks to safety and security.

“The DEOS facility is a significant step to ensuring that NNSA and Los Alamos’ national security workforce have the tools needed to accomplish the mission while maintaining the highest levels of safety and efficiency” said Jim McConnell, Associate Administrator for NNSA’s Office of Safety, Infrastructure and Operations.

The DEOS facility is the first new construction project of the DOE/NNSA’s infrastructure modernization efforts under NNSA’s Infrastructure Operations and Modernization program.