For various reasons the use or abuse of energetic materials is playing an increasingly important role in society. As a result Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), in conjunction with Flinders University, have established the Centre of Expertise in Energetic Materials (CEEM). CEEM is a Flinders University based centre (funded initially by the DSTO) ideally situated to make important contributions in this area. CEEM's role is to examine novel aspects of energetic material chemistry via support of a core group of people, facilities and techniques at DSTO and Flinders.

Issues with energetic materials are important in a number of fields. For example munitions, detection and neutralisation of explosives, and the mining sector. The establishment of CEEM presents an opportunity for cutting edge research and development of energetic materials. It is hoped CEEM will stimulate greater interest in the enabling sciences; attracting students to the field and eventually providing greater numbers of able, skilled scientists with the required training to work in this area.

The Centre represents an exciting combination of the synthetic and characterisation capabilities of Flinders, the energetic material expertise and infrastructure of DSTO, and also academic and industry approaches. CEEM conducts fundamental and applied research in the field of energetic materials, with a focus on defence and national security. Its director is Flinders University's Associate Professor Stewart Walker.


Vision Statement

CEEM will be a world leading collaborative research facility in the field of energetic materials, providing excellence in research and education.


  • To develop a capability in the area of energetic materials
  • To provide a secure and dedicated national hub to facilitate cooperative research in the field of energetic materials
  • To be seen nationally and internationally as a leader in research and education


Centre of Expertise in Energetic Materials will:

  • Conduct research of the highest standard;
  • Examine technologies and develop new techniques;
  • Host biennial Australian Energetic Materials Symposia (first symposium held in 2008);
  • Provide education programs;
  • Develop training programs;
  • Establish a national hub to facilitate cooperative research with other universities.


Safety and Environment

  • Remediation
  • Demilitarisation and recycling
  • Waste disposal
  • Hazards and sensitivity
  • Green munitions, green manufacture
  • Surveillance/service life

Materials and Properties

  • New ingredients
  • Improved understanding of existing ingredients
  • Improved application of existing ingredients
  • Ageing of materials
  • Decomposition/destruction of energetic materials

Detection and Analysis

  • Detection of energetic materials, including home made explosives
  • Detection and analysis of decomposition products
  • Detection and analysis of detonation products
  • Analytical techniques


Project Selection
DSTO personnel define initial project areas of interest. Using DSTO criteria Flinders University academics define honours projects that are of interest, and possible using the available equipment.  See the range of 2009 projects .

Prior to the establishment of the centre 12 honours projects with energetic material themes ran at Flinders. Additionally, as of June 2008, CEEM had enrolled its first two Ph.D. students.


In the future other external groups will be involved, broadening the scope of the centre.