The analysis of black powder substitutes containing ascorbic acid by ion chromatography/mass spectrometry.
ABSTRACT Black powder substitutes containing ascorbic acid are a group of low explosives that utilize ascorbic acid as the fuel. The analysis of these powders is complicated by the degradation of ascorbic acid which occurs rapidly in solution and may also occur as the powder ages. Aqueous extracts of both intact powders and postblast residues were analyzed by an existing ion chromatography/mass spectrometry (IC/MS) method used at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Results have shown that while ascorbic acid itself is not detected in this method, its diagnostic degradation products (threonic acid, monohydrated diketogulonic acid, and oxalic acid) can be identified. In addition, anions from the inorganic oxidizers (perchlorate and nitrate) and combustion products such as chloride, chlorate, and nitrite, can be identified within the same experiment. While this IC/MS method shows promise, future modifications are necessary because of limitations in identifying threonate in postblast residues, as well as coeluting compounds observed in postblast residues.
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ABSTRACT: The ability to link criminal activity and identity using validated analytical approaches can be of great value to forensic scientists. Herein, the factors affecting the recovery and detection of inorganic and organic energetic material residues within chemically or physically enhanced fingermarks on paper and glass substrates are presented using micro-bore anion exchange chromatography with suppressed conductivity detection. Fingermarks on both surfaces were enhanced using aluminium powder or ninhydrin after spiking with model test mixtures or through contact with black-powder substitutes. A quantitative study of the effects of environmental/method interferences, the sweat matrix, the surface and the enhancement technique on the relative anion recovery of forensically relevant species is presented. It is shown that the analytical method could detect target analytes at the nanogram level even within excesses of enhancement reagents and their reaction products when using solid phase extraction and/or microfiltration. To our knowledge, this work demonstrates for the first time that ion chromatography can detect anions in energetic materials within fingermarks on two very different surfaces, after operational enhancement techniques commonly used by forensic scientists and police have been applied.Forensic science international 09/2013; 231(1-3):150-6. · 2.10 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: It is extremely important to be able to characterize a wide variety of organic and inorganic materials which may be of potential use in improvised explosives manufacture. As a result our research group has become increasingly interested in the development of mass spectrometric methods for the analysis of various classes of low explosives. We present in this document, the development of ion chromatographic/mass spectrometric methods for the analysis of inorganic explosives and HPLC-ESI-MS for the analysis of smokeless powders.12/2010: pages 221-229;
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ABSTRACT: The development and application of ion chromatography (IC) coupled to mass spectrometry (MS) is discussed herein for the quantitative determination of low-order explosives-related ionic species in environmental and forensic sample types. Issues relating to environmental explosives contamination and the need for more confirmatory IC-MS based applications in forensic science are examined. In particular, the compatibility of a range of IC separation modes with MS detection is summarised along with the analytical challenges that have been overcome to facilitate determinations at the ng-μgL(-1) level. Observed trends in coupling IC to inductively coupled plasma and electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry form a particular focus. This review also includes a discussion of the relative performance of reported IC-MS methods in comparison to orthogonal ion separation-based, spectrometric and spectroscopic approaches to confirmatory detection of low-order explosives. Finally, some promising areas for future research are highlighted and discussed with respect to potential IC-MS applications.Analytica chimica acta 01/2014; 806C:27-54. · 4.31 Impact Factor