Dr. Richard Turcotte

Image Turcotte, Richard
Head, Explosives Research and Development

Research on the safety and security of explosives and other energetic materials

Current research and/or projects


After completing a Ph. D. and a one-year postdoctoral appointment in 1989, I worked for 12 years in the commercial explosives industry where I developed expertise on the performance and the hazardous properties of modern explosives. In 2002, I obtained a research scientist position at the Canadian Explosives Research Laboratory (CERL) of NRCan. In 2005, I became Section Head of the Explosives Research Group at CERL. Since then, I have led several contract and joint projects with the industry, thus improving the safety of the explosive industry.

Research and/or project statements

Current Research Projects:

  • Process safety of commercial explosives and ingredients
  • Compatibility of commercial explosives with plant chemicals and building materials
  • Thermal stability of explosives and other energetic materials and chemicals
  • Characterization of improvised (home-made) explosives and their presursors

Professional activities / interests

Supervision of one Ph.D. student from Stuttgart University in Germany.

Frequently reviewer for various journals.

Reviewer for NSERC and FQRNT.

Education and awards


Ph.D. in Experimental Nuclear Physics, McGill University

B.Sc. (Hons.) in Physics, McGill University.

Awards and Scholarships:

2019 NRCAN Lands and Minerals Sector Award for Excellence in Science

2012 NRCan Mineral and Metals Sector Collaboration Award

ICI Explosives Canada award

Carl Reinhart Scholarship from McGill University

Doctoral Scholarship, Fonds F.C.A.C. du Québec pour l’Aide et le Soutien à la Recherche

Postgraduate Scholarship from NSERC

Horace Watson Gold Medal, McGill University

Key publications

  1. R. Turcotte, C.M. Badeen, S. Goldthorp, Minimum Burning Pressures of Water-based Emulsion Explosives, J. Vis. Exp. (128), e56167, 2017, doi: 10.3791/56167.

  2. S.K. Chan and R. Turcotte, Empirical Correlation of Minimum Burning Pressures of Ammonium Nitrate Emulsions, Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics, 2016, 41, 207, doi: 10.1002/prep.201500319.

  3. S. Cagnina, P. Rotureau, S. Singh, R. Turcotte, G. Fayet, C. Adamo, A Theoretical and Experimental Study of the Reaction Between Ammonium Nitrate and Sodium Salts, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2016, 55, 12183−12190, doi: 10.1021/acs.iecr.6b02834.

  4. Turcotte, S. Goldthorp, C.M. Badeen, H. Feng, and S.K. Chan, Influence of Physical Characteristics and Ingredients on the Minimum Burning Pressure of Ammonium Nitrate Emulsions, Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics, 2010, 35, 233, doi: 10.1002/prep.201000019.

  5. R.Turcotte, S. Goldthorp, C. Badeen, and S.K. Chan, Hot-wire Ignition of AN-based Emulsions, Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics, 2008, 33, 472, doi: 10.1002/prep.200700276.

  6. Turcotte, M. Vachon, Q.S.M. Kwok, R. Wang, and D.E.G. Jones, Thermal Study of HNIW (CL-20), Thermochimica Acta, 2005, 433, 105, doi:10.1016/j.tca.2005.02.021.

  7. Turcotte, P.D. Lightfoot, R. Fouchard, and D.E.G. Jones, Thermal Hazards Assessment of AN and AN-based Explosives, Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2003, 101, 1, doi: 10.1016/S0304-3894(03)00114-6.

Research facility

555 Booth Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G1


Member of ASTM E27 committee on hazard potential of chemicals.

Principal member of NFPA technical committee 495 on explosives.

Former member of the Ad Hoc Group of Specialists on the Detection of Explosives (ICAO).