What we do
Discover how we support the defence and security of the UK.Discover more
Materials science supports the life cycle of warhead components and technologies to ensure reliability of the UK's strategic deterrent.
A nuclear warhead contains a vast range of materials including metals, ceramics, inorganic salts, rubbers, foams, adhesives, high explosives and radioactive substances. Many of these materials have unique handling issues and our dedicated facilities ensure a safe and secure environment to undertake research. As part of our obligations to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, materials science is critical to understanding and predicting behaviour of these types of materials under various conditions.
Key areas of focus for materials science are:
Materials science is also concerned with research and development across all areas of warhead systems and components including:
Many research areas are explored to support understanding of the warhead and include topics such as:
Materials science places great importance on fostering links with external organisations, and collaborations are in place with both industrial and academic institutions around the world. Established links exist with a number of UK universities through sponsorship of PhD and postdoctoral research. These contracts provide invaluable support to our technical programme and allow discussion between our scientists and distinguished academics in a variety of disciplines.