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Quantifying Stability of Trace Explosives under Different Environmental Conditions



Edward R. Sisco, Marcela N. Najarro, Daniel V. Samarov, Jeffrey A. Lawrence


This work investigates the stability of trace deposits of six explosives (ETN, PETN, RDX, HMX, TNT, and Tetryl) to determine environmental stabilities and lifetimes. Explosives were inkjet printed directly onto PTFE coated fiberglass substrates and exposed to one of seven environmental conditions for 42 days. The remaining explosives were then quantified using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) to determine stability of the explosive as a function of time and environmental exposure. Stability was found to be exposure and compound dependent with lowest sample losses observed for HMX, RDX, and PETN while substantial and rapid losses were observed for ETN and TNT. The results of this work highlights the potential fate of explosive traces when exposed to various environments.


Trace Explosives, Mass Spectrometry, Degradation, Stability, Quantification
Created April 1, 2017, Updated November 10, 2018