Black powder substitutes

Explosives cases arise when suspected or illegal explosive devices are confiscated or when an explosion takes place damaging property or injuring people. Typical types of explosives analyzed include black powder, black powder substitutes, single and double base smokeless powders and pyrotechnics. Due to the different types of explosives one could encounter, a variety of analytical tests are used by the explosives examiner. Common tests include microcrystal tests with microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM/EDS), and gas chromatography/ mass spectrometry (GC/MS).

Updated August 11, 2020