(Received 13 August 1988; accepted 30 November 1988)
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Midrange petroleum products such as charcoal lighters and paint thinners represent a potential source of evidence in arson fires which have been little studied. The objective of this study is to characterize a series of 22 such products using capillary gas chromatography (GC) and three-dimensional (3-D) fluorescence spectroscopy.
It was found that 3-D fluorescence is well able to differentiate among products whose characteristics, including GC, are quite similar. It can also determine if two samples could be the same brand or not. When samples are evaporated or combusted, it is still possible to obtain 3-D fluoresence spectra and GCs. The GCs are even more nondescript, whereas evaporated 3-D spectra are reproducible and characteristic although they do not correlate well with those of neat samples. 3-D fluorescence spectra of combusted samples do not reproduce well because of the inability to properly control the conditions of combustion.
Associate professor, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Visiting scholar, Institute of Forensic Science Research, Beijing,
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