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Residues from low-order energetic materials: the comparative performance of a range of sampling approaches prior to analysis by ion chromatography

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Katarzyna Szomborg, Fleur Jongekrijg, Elizabeth Gilchrist, Tony Webb, Dan Wood, Leon Barron

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-62
Number of pages8
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2013

King's Authors


A quantitative study of common forensic evidence collection devices for the recovery of low-explosive residues from non-porous glass and plastic is presented herein. Swabbing materials including cotton, rayon, Nomex® (poly(isophthaloylchloride/m-phenylenediamine)), Teflon/Teflon-coated fibreglass (polytetrafluoroethylene) and adhesive-coated tapes were used to collect known quantities of up to 14 forensically relevant inorganic and organic anion and cation species from both surfaces. Analysis was performed using two validated ion chromatography methods. This study revealed that all swabs and surfaces contributed highly variable levels of interfering ionic species and that swabbing materials showed variance in the quantities and total number of analytes recovered from both surfaces. Teflon and Nomex® materials demonstrated the most promise due to their ability to collect and release analytes into simple extraction solvents as well as displaying relatively low endogenous interference. In parallel, the ability to extract residue directly from both surfaces via the addition of a suitable extraction solvent was investigated instead of swabbing. This work highlights that direct solvent extraction from a surface should be considered as an alternative approach, especially for small areas or objects. To the best of our knowledge, this work represents the most comprehensive study of the efficiencies of sample collection technologies for low-explosive residues prior to analysis by ion chromatography.

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