Center for Impact Physics (CIP)


Lightweight protection technologies effective against an ever-increasing array of primitive and advanced technology threats will require a comprehensive, interconnected research effort that combines theoretical, computational, and experimental research in the fields of applied ballistics, high-rate mechanics and characterization of materials, and materials science.  Similarly, this approach is also needed for advancing the state-of-the-art in lethality to be effective against future and emerging protection methods of ever evolving adversaries. The Center for Impact Physics (CIP) is a comprehensive consortium of organizations and facilities with the focused goal of creating future lethality and protection technologies specifically suited for blast and ballistic impact applications.

Collaborative focus

Nano-scale ballistic phenomena related to continuum level mechanisms
High rate materials characterization, analysis, and computational sciences and multiple length scales
Solid dynamics, materials science, and ballistics
Synchrotron imaging of materials


Access to ARL’s strong full spectrum capability (theoretical, computational and experimental expertise) in solid dynamics, materials science     and ballistics
Access to multi-scale studies of materials subjected to the full spectrum of loading rates encountered in terminal ballistics, material model development and predictive computational algorithms
Unique capability to study the dynamic compressive response of individual grains of materials or small assemblies of grains for meso-scale model development and verification

Unique Facilities

ARL Supercomputing Resource Center including Cray XC40 supercomputer
Quasi-static to ultra-high rate as well as high-fidelity terminal ballistic impacts
Instrumented load cells, compression, tension, and torsion Kolsky bars, gas guns with laser interferometry instrumentation
Dynamic fracture laboratory, ultrafast thermography, and ballistic impact chambers
Dynamic Compression Sector at the Advanced Photon Source located on the Argonne National Laboratory

Point of Contact

Sikhanda Satapathy
Branch Chief (A), Impact Physics Branch

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Open to national and defense labs, universities and industry. The CIP is currently partnered with the Department of Energy Laboratories at Argonne, Los Alamos, Sandia, and Lawrence Livermore,  the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the Institute for Shock Physics at Washington State University,  and the  University of Connecticut.

Concept of Operation

The CIP will establish an overarching Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) that will define the extent of collaboration conducted under the center, the disposition of intellectual property and the sharing of research outcomes and laboratory resources.