- Number 302 |
- December 21, 2009
LANL fires a DAHRT
After decades of work, scientists and engineers at DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory have fired the first-ever double-viewpoint hydrodynamic test of a nuclear weapon mockup. The test took place on December 3, 2009 at the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) facility at Los Alamos.
DARHT consists of two linear-induction accelerators oriented at right angles to one another. A linear-induction accelerator uses magnetic cores to allow better coupling of the electrostatic fields that accelerate electrons or other particles to extremely high energies. At DARHT those electron beams are focused onto a metal target that converts the electron beam’s kinetic energy into powerful x-rays. The x-rays produce radiographic pictures of full-scale mockups of nuclear weapon components as they are driven to implosion by high explosives.
The concept of DARHT began in the 1980s as a critical tool for nuclear weapons development and stockpile stewardship. The purpose of DARHT is to verify computer simulations by providing multiple x-ray images from two viewpoints at a 90° angle. These images are used to evaluate nuclear weapons by means of nonnuclear hydrodynamic testing, also called hydrotests. This particular area of hydrodynamics is the study of how solid materials behave like liquids under extreme pressures and temperatures.
[Kevin Roark, 505.665.9202,