Metals, alloys and metal-based composite powders are used as fuel additives in advanced propellants, explosives and pyrotechnics. These materials have higher temperatures of combustion than conventional hydrocarbon fuels and monomolecular energetic compounds. However, they typically have longer ignition delays and lower burn rates than organic energetic materials. The focus of the Reactive and Energetic Materials Laboratory is to design and characterize new metal-based reactive materials with accelerated reaction rates. We also work on mechanistic models describing ignition and combustion of metals and metal-based reactive materials, which can be used to describe the performance of complex energetic systems, in which such materials are used. Most new materials designed in our lab are nanocomposite powders prepared using mechanical milling of readily available powders of metals, metalloids and metal oxides. Thermal analysis is used extensively to characterize reactions occurring in the prepared materials upon their heating. Common materials characterization techniques, such as x-ray diffraction and electron microscopy, are used as well. A set of customized ignition and combustion experiments are aimed to characterize ignition delays, burn rates and flame temperatures for the prepared materials in different oxidizing environments.