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Identification of homemade inorganic explosives by ion chromatographic analysis of post-blast residues


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Johns, CA, Shellie, RA, Potter, OG, O'Reilly, JW, Hutchinson, JP, Guijt, RM, Breadmore, MC, Hilder, EF, Dicinoski, GW and Haddad, PR 2008 , 'Identification of homemade inorganic explosives by ion chromatographic analysis of post-blast residues' , Journal of Chromatography A, vol. 1182, no. 2 , pp. 205-214 , doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2008.01.014.

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Anions and cations of interest for the post-blast identification of homemade inorganic explosives were separated and detected by ion chromatographic (IC) methods. The ionic analytes used for identification of explosives in this study comprised 18 anions (acetate, benzoate, bromate, carbonate, chlorate, chloride, chlorite, chromate, cyanate, fluoride, formate, nitrate, nitrite, perchlorate, phosphate, sulfate, thiocyanate and thiosulfate) and 12 cations (ammonium, barium(II), calcium(II), chromium(III), ethylammonium, magnesium(II), manganese(II), methylammonium, potassium(I), sodium(I), strontium(II), and zinc(II)). Two IC separations are presented, using suppressed IC on a Dionex AS20 column with potassium hydroxide as eluent for anions, and non-suppressed IC for cations using a Dionex SCS 1 column with oxalic acid/acetonitrile as eluent. Conductivity detection was used in both cases. Detection limits for anions were in the range 2–27.4 ppb, and for cations were in the range 13–115 ppb. These methods allowed the explosive residue ions to be identified and separated from background ions likely to be present in the environment. Linearity (over a calibration range of 0.05–50 ppm) was evaluated for both methods, with r2 values ranging from 0.9889 to 1.000. Reproducibility over 10 consecutive injections of a 5 ppm standard ranged from 0.01 to 0.22% relative standard deviation (RSD) for retention time and 0.29 to 2.16%RSD for peak area. The anion and cation separations were performed simultaneously by using two Dionex ICS-2000 chromatographs served by a single autoinjector. The efficacy of the developed methods was demonstrated by analysis of residue samples taken from witness plates and soils collected following the controlled detonation of a series of different inorganic homemade explosives. The results obtained were also confirmed by parallel analysis of the same samples by capillary electrophoresis (CE) with excellent agreement being obtained.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Johns, CA and Shellie, RA and Potter, OG and O'Reilly, JW and Hutchinson, JP and Guijt, RM and Breadmore, MC and Hilder, EF and Dicinoski, GW and Haddad, PR
Keywords: Ion chromatography; Cations; Anions; Homemade inorganic explosives; Counter-terrorism
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Chromatography A
ISSN: 0021-9673
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.chroma.2008.01.014
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