Purdue University Graduate School
The Detection and Identification of Explosives by Canines and Chemical Instrumentation.pdf (3.44 MB)

The Detection and Identification of Explosives by Canines and Chemical Instrumentation

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posted on 2022-07-12, 18:16 authored by Madison D ReavisMadison D Reavis


With bombings in the United States on the rise for the first time since 2016, the detection and identification of explosives remains of pertinent interest to law enforcement agencies. This work presents two soon-to-be published research articles that focus on the detection and identification of explosives by both chemical instrumentation and canines. The first article, Quantitative Analysis of Smokeless Powder Particles in Post-Blast Debris via Gas Chromatography/Vacuum Ultraviolet Spectroscopy (GC/VUV), utilizes gas chromatography/vacuum ultraviolet spectroscopy (GC/VUV) to determine the difference in chemical composition of two smokeless powders in both pre- and post-blast conditions. The compounds of interest in this study were nitroglycerin, 2,4-dinitrotoluene, diphenylamine, ethyl centralite, and di-n-butyl phthalate. Concentration changes between pre- and post-blast smokeless powder particles were determined as well as microscopic differences between pre- and post-blast debris for both smokeless powders in all devices. To our knowledge, this is the first use of GC/VUV for the quantification of explosives. The second article, An Odor-Permeable Membrane Device for the Storage of Canine Training Aids, proposes the use of an odor-permeable membrane device (OPMD) as a standardized storage method for canine training aids. It is hypothesized that the OPMD would minimize cross-contamination between training aids, and that the OPMD could be used for canine training as well as storage. The goal of this research is to use flux and evaporation rate to quantify the explosive odor that escapes from the OPMD compared to unconfined explosives. Preliminary data suggests that there is an exponential relationship between relative boiling point and evaporation rate. It has been determined that compounds with higher boiling points have lower evaporation rates than compounds that have lower boiling points. The materials studied thus far are known odor compounds produced by explosive formulations. These include nitromethane, nitroethane, 1-nitropropane, r-limonene, and toluene. 


Department of Defense Excet Award ID 101132.0.202.0


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Forensic and Investigative Sciences

Campus location

  • Indianapolis

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

John V. Goodpaster

Additional Committee Member 2

Nicholas Manicke

Additional Committee Member 3

Dana Bors