Volume 35, Issue 5 (September 1990)
An Accelerant Classification Scheme Based on Analysis by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)
Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS) using ion chromatography profiling allows the arson examiner to gather information about the chemical nature of the hydrocarbons present in a fire debris sample. Fragmentions have been identified that provide specific analyses for alkanes, cycloparaffins, aromatics, naphthalenes, and dihydroindenes. An accelerant classification scheme currently used only classifies accelerants by their boiling point ranges into light, medium, and heavy petroleum distillates and gasoline. Many flammable liquids do not properly fall into one of these categories. An expanded accelerant classification scheme that takes into account the chemical nature of the accelerant, in addition to its boiling point range, is described here.