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A Novel Method for the Analysis of Discharged Smokeless Powder Residues

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ABSTRACT:

A novel method for the estimation of intermediate-long firing distance range is proposed. The method is based on the characterization and chemical analysis of the smokeless powder particles on the target. An adhesive lifter is applied to collect the suspected gunshot residues (GSRs) from the surface of an object, and a Modified Griess Test (MGT) is carried out after alkaline hydrolysis on the adhesive lifter. Visualized particles are removed from the adhesive lifter under a microscope. Two systems are used for the analysis of organic discharge residues from the smokeless powder: (1) gas chromatography/thermal energy analysis (GC/TEA) for the analysis of nitroglycerine (NG) and 2,4-dinitrotoluene (2,4-DNT), (2) gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) for the identification of organic components such as DNT, NG, and some stabilizers. By using this procedure and confirming that the suspected particles are indeed GSR, one can estimate the intermediate-long firing distance of c. 0.75–3 m in the presence of very few particles and provide information for the classification of ammunition type in casework.
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Keywords: firing distance; forensic science; gas chromatography-mass spectrometry; gas chromatography-thermal energy analyzer; gunpowder residues; smokeless powder

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Identification and Forensic Science, Israel Police, National Headquarters, Jerusalem 91906, Israel.

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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