EURENCO and ENSTA Bretagne consolidating links for training and research to design energetic materials of tomorrow

Linked by their expertise in energetic materials, pyrotechnics and weapon system design, the EURENCO Group and the ENSTA Bretagne engineering school are preparing for the future by initiating an extended partnership covering initial training, continuing education and research.
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EURENCO is the European leader in propellants and explosives (Picture source: EURENCO)

ENSTA Bretagne's teaching and research in pyrotechnics is unique in France and is of great interest to the EURENCO Group. The themes of pyrotechnics, detonics and, more broadly, engineering for the design of complex systems and project management are at the heart of this partnership.
The main objectives from 2021 onwards are :
- To prepare future engineers for the needs of industry by involving EURENCO experts in pyrotechnics courses at ENSTA Bretagne,
- To contribute to maintaining the skills of EURENCO's employees at the highest level through access to continuous training provided by ENSTA Bretagne,
- To accelerate the emergence of technological breakthroughs, by developing training through research and by relying in a complementary way on the laboratories and experimental means of ENSTA Bretagne and EURENCO.

Thierry Francou, Chairman and CEO of EURENCO, said : “In a world that is constantly accelerating, it is imperative for EURENCO to have the best skills and to maintain them at the highest level. It is also essential to use collective intelligence and collaborative work to bring out more quickly the technological breakthroughs and innovations that will enable us to remain leaders in our field. I am very pleased to sign this partnership between the EURENCO and ENSTA Bretagne which, I am convinced, will enable us to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”

Bruno Gruselle, Director of ENSTA Bretagne, said: “ENSTA Bretagne is honoured to seal this partnership with a key industrial player in pyrotechnics and armament. Through our cooperation, we can pursue strong ambitions for the future of the French industry for the young engineers who will join it and to develop innovative scientific projects in the fields of interest to EURENCO. Half of ENSTA Bretagne's activities concern innovation in the defence industry, both in training and research. Many defence companies are led by former students of the school. This is precisely the case at EURENCO, where former students, led by Thierry Francou, maintain valuable links with the school.”

Pyrotechnics and energetic materials?

Pyrotechnics is the body of knowledge acquired on the phenomena of combustion and detonation, as well as all the techniques specific to the manufacture, implementation and practical use of substances that can give rise to such phenomena. These substances are commonly called "energetic materials", and include powders, propellants and explosives. Pyrotechnics is an innovative and demanding field of technology, which remains unknown to the general public despite its long history and the fact that certain pyrotechnic mechanisms are objects that everyone can come into contact with on a daily basis (airbags, distress rockets, hunting or sports shooting ammunition, etc.).

Industrial applications of pyrotechnics are numerous and concern the automotive industry (gas generators for airbags, belt pretensioners), the defence industry (conventional munitions, missiles, explosives, armour), aerospace (propulsion of space launchers, satellite deployment), public works (mines, quarries, etc.) and the prevention of industrial risks (pollution clean-up, prevention of fires and explosions) or terrorist risks (protection of critical infrastructures).

ENSTA Bretagne is the only engineering school to offer a specialisation in pyrotechnics in France and equivalent training courses internationally are rare. The aim of the programme is to train mechanical engineers capable of designing pyrotechnic components and integrating them into complex systems, while respecting the physical and regulatory constraints linked to the use of energetic materials. The training provided covers the theoretical (modelling of combustion and detonation phenomena), application (life cycle of energetic materials, self-propulsion, terminal ballistics, pyromechanisms) and regulatory aspects of pyrotechnics.

Two training courses allow to specialise in pyrotechnics:
• training as a general engineer with a specialisation in pyrotechnics (three years of study after the scientific preparatory class; specialisation for Master degree)
• the specialised master's degree in "pyrotechnics and propulsion" (one year's study after Master degree).
Both training courses include a long internship in a company or research centre, which constitutes the final project and lasts 6 months.

The training is based on research conducted in the field of "Fluids, Structures and Interactions" at the ENSTA Bretagne research centre and in the IRDL laboratory (Dupuy de Lôme Research Institute, UMR CNRS 6027). The work focuses on the one hand on the characterisation and prevention of the effects generated by explosions, and on the other hand on the study of the behaviour of energetic materials subjected to mechanical or thermal stress.