Protecting the world from chemical weapons of mass destruction is no easy task. UCF professor Subith Vasu has been aiding the fight, though, by researching how long it takes for toxic chemicals from weapons of mass destruction to break down and how to destroy chemical weapons.

“Imagine if you found a stockpile in a building in the middle of a city,” Vasu, an assistant mechanical and aerospace engineering professor said in a press release. “You don’t want to destroy the city in the process of trying to keep people safe from the weapons. That’s where my work comes in.”

Through his research Vasu has earned several grants to further his studies. The U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency recognized Vasu with a 2015 DTRA Young Investigator Award to help his research.

“It’s good to be part of this important program,” Vasu said. “My research at this moment in time is quite relevant given the terrorists groups out there and our need to keep our world, our families safe.”

Working with nontoxic chemicals that share like qualities with toxic chemicals, Vasu recreates the conditions of a bomb-like scenario.

Using a shock tube to simulate the quick high pressure and temperatures a bomb would have on the chemical, he can record the decomposition of the chemical and see how long it takes to break down it its base elements.

In addition Vasu received a 2015 American Chemical Society’s Doctoral New Investigator Award to study the chemical kinetics of gasoline mixtures that are in car engines.


Matthew Saunders is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @ClassicSmit or email him at

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