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Cyclic Pentanone Peroxide: Sensitiveness and Suitability as a Model for Triacetone Triperoxide

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Research to counter the threat of organic peroxides such as triacetone triperoxide (TATP) is at times hampered by their inherent extreme sensitiveness and volatility. This work describes an approach to lowering some risks associated with the handling of TATP in the laboratory through the use of an analog species, tripentanone triperoxide (TPTP). Sensitiveness has been tested via standard methods. GCMS analysis has shown that TPTP degrades via similar mechanisms to TATP under a range of conditions. Slight differences in product composition were traced to side reactions which may also affect impurities present in homemade TATP synthesis. A pilot field trial was conducted to evaluate TPTP as a substitute for TATP in explosive detection dog (EDD) scent training. The degradation studies have yielded insights into the complexities of the acidic degradation of cyclic peroxides with potential forensic application, and TPTP's inadequacy as a TATP pseudoscent is a valuable example of the limitations of such training aids.
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Keywords: acidic degradation; cyclic peroxide; degradation products; explosive detection dog; forensic science; organic peroxide; pseudoscent; thermal degradation; triacetone triperoxide; tripentanone triperoxide

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2014

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