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Proceedings Paper

Discrimination of smokeless powders by headspace SPME-GC-MS and SPME-GC-ECD, and the potential implications upon training canine detection of explosives
Author(s): Ross J. Harper; Jose R. Almirall; Kenneth G. Furton
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Paper Abstract

This presentation will provide an odour analysis of a variety of smokeless powders & communicate the rapid SPME-GC-ECD method utilized. This paper will also discuss the implications of the headspace analysis of Smokeless Powders upon the choice of training aids for Explosives Detection Canines. Canine detection of explosives relies upon the dogs’ ability to equate finding a given explosive odour with a reward, usually in the form of praise or play. The selection of explosives upon which the dogs are trained thus determines which explosives the canines can and potentially cannot find. Commonly, the training is focussed towards high explosives such as TNT and Composition 4, and the low explosives such as Black and Smokeless Powders are added often only for completeness. Powder explosives constitute a major component of explosive incidents throughout the US, and canines trained to detect explosives must be trained across the entire range of powder products. Given the variability in the manufacture and product make-up many smokeless powders do not share common odour chemicals, giving rise to concerns over the extensiveness of canine training. Headspace analysis of a selection of Smokeless Powders by Solid Phase Microextraction Gas Chromatography using Mass Spectrometry (SPME-GC-MS) and Electron Capture Detectors (SPME-GC-ECD) has highlighted significant differences in the chemical composition of the odour available from different brands. This suggests that greater attention should be paid towards the choice of Powder Explosives when assigning canine training aids.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 May 2005
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 5778, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IV, (20 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.603928
Show Author Affiliations
Ross J. Harper, Florida International Univ. (United States)
Jose R. Almirall, Florida International Univ. (United States)
Kenneth G. Furton, Florida International Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5778:
Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IV
Edward M. Carapezza, Editor(s)

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