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Discriminating Hodgdon Pyrodex and Triple Seven Using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 56 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2011 Pages: 194-199
Benjamin J. Routon, B.S.; Brandon B. Kocher, B.S.; John V. Goodpaster, Ph.D.
Date Published
January 2011
6 pages
Pyrodex and Triple Seven are black powder substitutes that often find use as fillers in improvised explosive devices, such as pipe bombs. These propellants have essentially the same overall appearance and oxidizers, but different fuels.
For example, Pyrodex contains sulfur, sodium benzoate, and dicyandiamide (DCDA), whereas Triple Seven lacks sulfur but also contains 3-nitrobenzoic acid. In this method, intact particles and postblast solid residues were reacted with bis(trimethylsilyl)trifluoroacetamide + 1 percent trimethylchlorosilane in acetonitrile for 30 min at 60 degrees C. The resultant trimethylsilyl derivatives of the organic fuels were then analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Each derivative was clearly resolved from other components, and high-quality mass spectra were obtained. In addition, characteristic fragments resulting from loss of a methyl radical from the molecular ion (m/z 163 for sulfur, m/z 171 for DCDA, m/z 179 for benzoic acid, and m/z 224 for nitrobenzoic acid) were able to be monitored. (Published Abstract) Figures and references


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