All of the pressures and temperatures reached during planet formation are now accessible in laboratory experiments.

The cornerstone of our research program is experimental investigation of shock processes in natural materials. The new Shock Compression Laboratory at UC Davis explores fundamental shock processes to increase our understanding of the physics of planetary collisions and to strengthen our interpretation of planetary observations.

EPS Newsletter Feature: Bringing out the Cannons for Planetary Science

The Shock Compression Laboratory is a cutting-edge facility for shock physics experiments. The primary instruments are a 40-mm single stage light gas or powder gun and a 25-mm two-stage light gas gun. We have strong collaborations with scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). The technical specifications of the lab are summarized in Stewart and Spaulding (2017).

We are collaborators on a Discovery Science research program at the National Ignition Facility at LLNL to measure the melting curve of iron up to Super-Earth conditions. In the Fundamental Science Program at the Sandia Z Machine, we are measuring the vapor curve of major minerals in rocky planets.

UC Davis Shock Compression Laboratory
under construction

Introduction to the Shock Compression Laboratory at UC Davis.

Gas gun experiments in the Shock Compression Laboratory.

National Ignition Facility at LLNL.

Z Machine at Sandia.