Research pole

Laboratory for Energetic Materials and Blasting Engineering (EMBE)

The laboratory consists of three research units, all related to the synthesis, analysis, testing or assessing effects of Explosives, Propellants and Pyrotechnics (Energetic Materials). 

Research units

Analytics & Forensic of Energetic Materials

POC: Maj Dr Ir Bart Simoens

This research unit has two main fields of activities:

  • The chemical analysis of all samples found on Belgian territory which possibly contain energetic materials (explosives), in assistance of the Belgian Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) group, Police and the Department of Justice.
  • The synthesis of (new) energetic materials and the determination of their physicochemical properties. This allows the laboratory to be up to date for current and future threats involving home-made explosives.

The laboratory infrastructure consists of the typical equipment for analysis and detection: thermogravimetric, calorimetric, spectroscopic and (liquid and gaseous) chromatographic instruments.


Energetic Materials

POC: Prof. Dr Ir Michel Lefebvre & Capt Ir Romuald Van Riet

This research unit aims to investigate existing or novel explosive and propulsive formulations. The research focusses on both the safety features (sensitivities, stability, compatibility) and the performances (detonics for high explosives or propulsive properties for gun and rocket propellants) of the formulations.

The unit has the required facilities and the standard testing equipment to prepare various explosive formulations and charges and to test them for their sensitivities, stability, performances and detonic properties. Some of the testing procedures are covered by an ISO17025 accreditation.

Military & Protective Engineering

POC: Maj Dr Ir David Lecompte

The Military & Protective Engineering Research Unit focusses on the analytical, numerical & experimental evaluation of the effects of blast and fragments on buildings, structures and personnel by performing theme-oriented research on:

  • Loading action on structures and structural components
  • Mitigation of blast wave and fragment action
  • Retrofitting of damaged & intact buildings
  • Combined Blast & Impact testing
  • Progressive collapse
  • Residual structural capacity of damaged infrastructure
  • Explosive breaching
  • Resilience of military compounds
  • Pyrotechnical Shock testing

and aims to be a reliable partner within this area of expertise at a national and international level, both for Defence and Society.



Test bunker

The laboratory for Energetic Materials and Blasting Engineering is operating test bunkers to conduct experiments with high explosives.