Physics & Engineering Modeling

The Physics & Engineering Models program provides the models and databases used in simulations supporting the U.S. stockpile. These models and databases describe a large variety of physical and engineering processes that occur during the operation of a nuclear weapon. In addition to supporting the stockpile, a number of other national security missions use Physics & Engineering Models.

Sandia’s contributions and expertise within this area are outlined below. Our predictive science-based models integrate theory, computational simulation, and analyses of experimental data. The resulting models are implemented into Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) integrated engineering and physics codes.

Material Strength and Damage

This area develops models for the dynamic strength, damage, and failure response of materials across a wide range of extreme conditions (e.g., pressure, temperature, and strain rate) unique to weapons. These models rely on building an intimate understanding of the relationship between evolving microstructure and its effect on the thermo-mechanical response of materials.

Thermal and Fluid Response

This area develops models that capture complex thermal and fluid transport in materials. The application scope covers design through manufacturing with specific emphasis on response to abnormal fire environments. 

Aerodynamics and Vibration

This area develops models that capture complex aerodynamic and aerothermal flows and response for gravity and reentry systems. This also includes models that capture the resultant structural vibration and mechanical response.

Radiation and Electrical Response

This area develops models that capture material and electrical system effects produced by exposure to X-ray, gamma, or neutron radiation. The scope includes development of complex models for integrated circuits and discrete electronic components such as transistors.