Volume 20, Issue 3 (July 1975)
The Distribution of Natural Stable Isotopes of Carbon As a Possible Tool for the Differentiation of Samples of TNT
Differentiating between samples of explosives of the same chemical nature by chemical or physical techniques is as yet one of the unsolved problems of forensic science. The techniques utilized, such as identification of impurities by gas chromatography , thin-layer chromatography , and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy , were primarily employed for quality control purposes and have not so far provided an acceptable method for either identifying the manufacturer of the explosives or differentiating or correlating between samples of explosives. The failure of those techniques for this particular purpose is primarily due to partial degradation of the explosives during storage. Therefore, the original pattern of impurities may completely change with time. The present report describes a novel, and potentially useful, technique for differentiating or correlating samples of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), which is hardly affected by the postmanufacturing history of the explosives.