The High Pressure Science and Engineering Center (HiPSEC) is supported by the DOE-NNSA Stewardship Science Academic Alliances.  HiPSEC is based at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and is a multidisciplinary research group consisting of faculty, staff and students of the Physics and Astronomy , Geoscience, Chemistry and Engineering Departments. HiPSEC members investigate the effects of pressure on matter using a suite of experimental and computational techniques. A central focus is the study of properties of materials relevant to the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Stockpile Stewardship Program. We give high priority to measuring static and dynamic high-pressure properties for validating and improving computational models over a largely unexplored range of very high pressures and temperatures. Materials under study include d- and f-band metals and compounds, energetic materials and their detonation products, and low-Z elements and their compounds. HiPSEC is also engaged in  technical developments aimed at achieving controlled extreme conditions and probing material in such challenging environments.


The UNLV High Pressure Science and Engineering Center, established in July 1998 with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), brings together chemists, mechanical engineers, geoscientists and physicists to consider fundamental experimental, computational and engineering problems of materials under high pressure.

Mission and Goals

While initially funded to serve as a university-based teaching and research center to support NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP), HiPSEC is now funded on a competitive basis. HiPSEC has built a strong research program in high pressure studies and is aspiring to be the best among DOE/NNSA Centers of Excellence. Among our goals are:

  • Advancing weapons material science at pressures, temperatures and strain rates needed to interpret legacy nuclear test data and to verify design codes
  • Preparing scientists and engineers needed by DOE to ensure the effectiveness and safety of the stockpile without requiring nuclear tests well into the future
  • Involving the high pressure community as well as UNLV materials science faculty in research related to critical SSP, DOE labs, and NNSS interests