Volume 29, Issue 3 (July 1984)
High-Speed Extraction of Accelerants from Arson Debris
Since the early 1960s, gas chromatography has been used as a means of determining the presence of hydrocarbons in fire residues. Recently, the sensitivity of headspace analysis of the vapors over samples which are contained in metal paint cans and heated to 90°C in a conventional oven has been improved with the use of a charcoal-adsorption tube fitted to a vacuum system. However, the use of paint cans for the collection of samples in the field by the investigator has caused both numerous transportation and storage problems and the loss of valuable laboratory time, which varies from 1 to 3 h, in the analysis of these samples. This paper discusses the replacement of the conventional, convection oven with the microwave oven for sample heating and thereby also the replacement of metal paint cans with polyester bags for sample storage and collection in order to effect minimal laboratory analysis time and to increase the subsequent sensitivity of the accelerant vapor collection.