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Smokeless Powder Reference Collection and SWGFEX Smokeless Powders Database Expansion

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2017
71 pages
This research project expanded the National Center for Forensic Science (NCFS) Smokeless Powders Database, addressed the need for reference materials, and used the Smokeless Powders Database to provide a statistical assessment of the value of a match between a database record and the physical and chemical properties of a questioned sample in a database query.
In 1998, the National Research Council (NRC) issued a report, "Black and Smokeless Powders Technologies for Finding Bombs and the Bomb Makers." This report recommended the development of a comprehensive national powder database that will contain information about the physical characteristics and chemical composition of commercially available black and smokeless powders; however, it was not until 2009 that the NCFS collaborated with the Scientific Working Group for Fire and Explosions (SWGFEX) to begin work on an internet-accessible database of analytical information on smokeless powders. The database opened in early 2011 with 100 entries of legacy powders provided by Mr. Ronald Kelly. The current project described in this report expanded the NCFS Smokeless Powders Database to contain over 800 records that cover both legacy and newly purchased smokeless powders. The result is that the database can serve as a resource for local, State, and Federal law enforcement investigations. The project addressed the need for reference materials by providing a set of 100 smokeless powder samples to each of 50 ASCLD/LAB accredited laboratories. Forty-two of the 50 labs accepted the samples. Regarding a statistical assessment of the value of a match between a database record and a questioned sample in a query, an upper limit is provided for the evidentiary or investigative value of a query-match. Methodology is described for the project. 8 tables, 5 figures, 64 references, and appended smokeless powders analysis method for years 2010 and 2014

Date Published: July 1, 2017