ASTM WK23817

    New Practice for Characterization of Smokeless Powder

    (What is a Work Item?)

    Developed by Subcommittee: E30.01 | Committee E30 | Contact Staff Manager


    1. Scope

    1.1This practice describes procedures for characterization and analysis of single-base and double-base smokeless powders recovered from post-blast debris, materials or objects containing gunshot residue, or bulk samples of powder. Smokeless powder is characterized by shape, color, texture, manufacturing toolmarks, markers (taggants), dimensional measurements, and chemical composition. The analysis of triple-base smokeless powder is beyond the scope of this document. 1.2This practice is best suited for analyzing items comprised of visible grains (whole or partial) or bulk samples of smokeless powder. 1.3 Analysis of post-blast debris and items containing gunshot residue when visible grains of smokeless powder are not present is beyond the scope of this method. 1.4This practice will provide guidelines for the analysis of organic components of smokeless powders using various instrumental techniques, such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), liquid chromatography, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. 1.5This practice will provide guidelines for the analysis of inorganic components of smokeless powders using various instrumental techniques, such as ion chromatography, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray powder diffractometry. 1.6The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The values given in parentheses are for information only. 1.7This practice involves handling of low explosives and potentially other energetic materials. It is strongly suggested that an analyst be trained in the storage and safe handling of energetic materials and be familiar with the properties and hazards of explosives. 1.8This practice cannot replace knowledge, skill, or ability acquired through appropriate education, training, and experience and should be used in conjunction with sound professional judgment. 1.9This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    This standard describes a procedure for the analysis of smokeless powder that can be adopted for use by forensic laboratories that perform analysis of low explosive materials.


    smokeless powder; nitroglycerin; nitrocellulose; single-base; double-base

    The title and scope are in draft form and are under development within this ASTM Committee.

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    Work Item Status

    Date Initiated:

    Technical Contact:
    Ronald Kelly


    E30 (16-04)

    At Society Review


    E30 (16-02)

    Negative Votes Need Resolution