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The identification of the emulsifier component of emulsion explosives by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry

, : The identification of the emulsifier component of emulsion explosives by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Journal of Forensic Sciences 51(2): 303-307

The widespread availability of emulsion explosives for commercial blasting has inevitably lead to their diversion for criminal misuse. Present techniques for the characterization of emulsion explosives and their residues is generally based on the detection and identification of the oxidizer and the hydrocarbon components. Use of these components is problematic for residue identification because ammonium nitrate, waxes, and oils are relatively common in the urban environment and even their co-detection does not exclude them being sourced from materials other than explosives. The detection of the emulsifier component offers increased evidential value as certain emulsifiers used in explosive formulations are manufactured for that specific use, or have limited environmental distribution. In the current study liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) was utilized for the characterization of two emulsifiers in common use; ethanolamine adducts of polyisobutylene succinic anhydride and sorbitol mono-oleate (SMO). The LC-MS technique enabled the detection of both emulsifiers in preblast samples; however, only SMO was detected in postblast residues. The analysis of the hydrocarbon component by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry was achieved in the same procedure.


PMID: 16566763

DOI: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2006.00075.x

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