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Forensic analysis of explosive residues from hand swabs

Ahmad, Umi Kalthom and Rajendran, Sumathy and Abu Hassan, Syahidah (2008) Forensic analysis of explosive residues from hand swabs. The Malaysian Journal of Analytical Sciences, 12 (1). 25 - 31. ISSN 1394-2506

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Official URL: http://www.ukm.my/mjas/v12_n1/5.pdf


In the forensic examination of physical evidence for organic explosives, cotton swabs are often used to collect residue from surfaces, such as skin and post-blast debris. A preliminary study has been conducted to develop extraction method of a common energetic compound, pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) from hand swabs followed by direct analysis of the resulting extract solution using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with ultraviolet (UV) detector. Analysis was performed on an octadecylsilane-based (C18) column using acetonitrile-water mixture (55:45) as mobile phase. The mobile phase was pumped at 1.0 mL/min and separation affected using an isocratic mode with the detection wavelength of 230 nm. The explosive residue was extracted from cotton swabs using acetone in an ultrasonic cold bath. The developed method was later applied to the real hand swabs samples, which were taken from three army personnel who handled PETN during a munition disposal operation at Asahan Camp Military Firing range. The acetone extract obtained using sonication method was found to be effective in recovering PETN from cotton swabs with relatively high recovery (89.5%) and good sensitivity with detection limit as low as 2 ng. The content of PETN in the real hand swab samples were found to be in the range of 4.7-130 mg.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Forensic analysis, PETN, hand swabs, HPLC-UV, ultrasonic extraction, explosive residue
Subjects:Q Science > QD Chemistry
ID Code:18878
Deposited By: Kamariah Mohamed Jong
Deposited On:19 Nov 2012 06:28
Last Modified:19 Nov 2012 06:28

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