This module can be taken as a Short Course for Credit or a Standalone Short Course.

Please go to the 'Upgrade to a professional qualification' section for more information.

This module will demonstrate how initiation of a reaction in a potentially detonable substance or composition can escalate to full detonation.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • Please enquire for course dates
  • Duration5 days
  • LocationCranfield University at Shrivenham
  • Cost£2,350 - Short Course for Credit fee 

    £1,925 - Standalone Short Course fee  Concessions available

Course structure

This course is delivered through lectures, case studies of explosive evaluation, and practical/demonstration on the range with a data acquisition workshop.

What you will learn

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Identify key contents of UK MoD standards and associated test documentation relevant to the approval of explosives, and articles containing explosives;
  • Critique the main methods to measure explosives performance (detonation velocity, pressure, critical diameter) and other properties of energetic materials;
  • Critically review the importance, relevance and limitations of different instrumentation techniques, and their selection and applicability to experimental research and test data gathering;
  • Interpret and draw conclusions from given experimental data, and critically review the validity of others’ conclusions.

Core content

Testing and evaluation methods:

  • Powder and handling tests;
  • Charge-scale tests;
  • Weapon-scale and system-scale tests;
  • Influence of the environment on the reliability and safety of weapons and other systems containing energetic materials;
  • Ageing and life assessment of weapons and other systems containing energetic materials.


  • UK Relevant JSPs;
  • Allied Ordnance Publications (AOPs);
  • NATO Standardisation Agreements (STANAGS);
  • UN ‘Orange Book’ Manual of Tests;
  • UK EMTAP Manual of Tests.

Test Methods Development:

  • Experimental methods development;
  • Physical and chemical methods as diagnostics for test data;
  • Introduction to ‘Smart’ testing approaches (to be explored in more depth in the Design for Munitions Safety module).

Upgrade to a professional qualification

When taken as a Short Course for Credit, 10 credit points can be put towards the Explosives Ordnance Engineering MSc.

Find out more about short course credit points.

Who should attend

Students must have successfully completed the Introduction to Explosives Engineering course or have relevant experience in order to take this as a Short Course for Credit.

There are no prerequisites if taken as a Standalone Short Course.



MSIAC staff – NATO unit responsible for providing advice on munitions safety and testing.

DOSG staff – UK MoD regulation staff providing legislation and process for evaluation and testing of explosives.


A limited number of MOD spaces are available.

Location and travel

Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) is a Cranfield School based at the Ministry of Defence establishment on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire borders.

Shrivenham itself lies in the picturesque Vale of the White Horse, close to the M4 motorway which links London and South Wales. It is 7 miles from Swindon, the nearest town, which lies off the M4 at the hub of Britain’s motorway network.

Bath, Cheltenham, Bristol and Oxford are all within an hour’s drive and London less than two hours away by car.

All visitors must be pre-booked in at reception by the person they are visiting on the campus.

For further location and travel details

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.