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A New Wipe-Sampling Instrument for Measuring the Collection Efficiency of Trace Explosives Residues



Elizabeth L. Robinson, Edward R. Sisco, Matthew E. Staymates, Jeffrey A. Lawrence


Trace explosives detection, a crucial component of many screening environments, commonly employs wipe-sampling. Since collection of an explosive residue is necessary for detection, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the parameters that affect the efficiency of collection. Current wipe-sampling evaluation techniques, such as manual sampling or a slip/peel meter, are limited in their ability to isolate a single parameter or in their sampling path. A new wipe-sampling instrument, a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) 3D printer repurposed for its XYZ stage, was developed to address these limitations. This system allowed, for the first time, automated two-dimensional wipe-sampling patterns to be studied while keeping the force and speed of collection constant for the length of the sampling path. This new instrument is not only capable of investigating the same parameters as current technology (wipe materials, test surfaces, forces of collection, and linear sample patterns), it has added capabilities to investigate additional parameters such as directional wipe patterns (i.e. “L” and “U” shapes, square, and serpentine), allowing for multiple lines to be sampled during a single collection without the need for adjustments by the user. In this work, parametric studies were completed using 1,3,5-trinitroperhydro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) and the COTS 3D printer for wipe-sampling to establish collection efficiencies for numerous scenarios. Trace explosives detection in field screening environments could be greatly improved with the ability to comprehensively investigate how a wide range of parameters individually affect collection by wipe-sampling.
Analytical Methods


Explosives, wipe sampling, trace detection, collection efficiency


Robinson, E. , Sisco, E. , Staymates, M. and Lawrence, J. (2017), A New Wipe-Sampling Instrument for Measuring the Collection Efficiency of Trace Explosives Residues, Analytical Methods, [online], (Accessed June 25, 2024)


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Created December 3, 2017, Updated November 10, 2018