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Explosives Research

At CERL, we have one of the best-equipped thermal laboratories in Canada and a staff with a broad range of explosives research experience. The primary goal of our Explosives Research Group is to conduct research and development to improve the safe use of energetic materials in Canada.


We offer the following services on a contract basis:

Thermal Hazard Evaluation
Thermal Characterization
Literature Surveys

ASTM Tests

The Explosives Research Group is actively involved in standards work, notably the ASTM E-27 and E-37 committees.

The following tests are accredited by the Standards Council of Canada under ISO/IEC Guide 17025:

  • ASTM E537 Assessing the Thermal Stability of Chemicals by Differential Scanning Calorimetry;
  • ASTM E1981 Assessing the Thermal Stability of Materials by Methods of Accelerating Rate Calorimetry.

In addition, the Explosives Research Group can carry out non-standard tests at the request of clients. We design experiments to solve a wide variety of thermochemical problems.

Thermal Techniques

Thermal techniques used by the Explosives Research Group include:

  • Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) using TA Instruments Model Q2000, including high-pressure (up to 7 MPa) and subambient temperature (to -90°C);
  • Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) using TA Instruments High-Resolution Model Q5000 IR;
  • Simultaneous thermo gravimetric analysis - differential thermal analysis (TA Instruments Q600 Simultaneous TG-DTA/DSC) with evolved gas analysis by mass spectrometry (MS, Extrel MAX300-LG) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometry (Nicolet 6700);
  • Accelerating rate calorimetry (ARC) - 3 units;
  • Setaram C600 heat flux calorimetry (HFC) with pressure system up to 35 MPa;
  • Adiabatic Dewar Calorimetry;
  • High pressure vessels (8 and 19 L) for combustion properties;
  • Minimum Burning Pressure System;
  • Isothermal nanocalorimetry (Calorimetry Sciences Corporation Model 4500);
  • Thermal conductivity analysis (C-Therm Technologies, Model TCiTM).


Our client base is truly international and includes commercial explosives manufacturers, fireworks manufacturers, mining companies, the defence industry, and the chemicals industry, as well as government departments.

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