ASTM E2520 - 07

    Standard Practice for Verifying Minimum Acceptable Performance of Trace Explosive Detectors

    Active Standard ASTM E2520 | Developed by Subcommittee: E54.01

    Book of Standards Volume: 15.08


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    Significance and Use

    The practice may be used to accomplish several ends: to compare detectors before purchase; as a demonstration by the vendor that the equipment is performing properly to a minimal standard; or for a periodic verification of detector performance after purchase.

    This practice establishes the minimum performance that is required for a detector to be considered effective in the detection of trace explosives. An explosives detector is considered to have minimum acceptable performance when it has passed all of the evaluation tests without a failure.

    This practice uses three explosive compoundsRDX, PETN, and TNTthat are used to represent nitro-based compounds having a range of physical and chemical properties. The concentrations of the solutions of explosive have been determined to be sufficient to provide a positive detector alarm signal. In time, other compounds may be added or substituted into this practice as detection priorities dictate.

    This practice was developed using IMS-based trace explosives detectors, but this practice should also be applicable to any explosives detector designed to analyze trace levels of high-explosive compounds collected on swipes.

    This practice does not include procedures to test for compounds that may interfere with detector performance.

    This practice does not test the minimum limit of detection or the dynamic range of the trace explosives detector.

    This practice does not test for compounds other than high explosives.

    This practice only evaluates the response of the detector to traces of pure explosive compounds.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice is primarily intended to assist first responders and security screeners in verifying the minimum acceptable performance of detectors used to identify traces of high explosives such as cyclotrimethylene trinitramine (RDX), pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), and trinitrotoluene (TNT). These explosive detectors may be based on, but are not limited to, ion mobility spectrometry (IMS).

    1.2 This practice is used to evaluate the detector response to evaporated residues of low-concentration solutions of explosive compounds placed on test swipes. The solutions used for this evaluation are prepared in a suitable organic solvent and contain a single high explosive.

    1.3 This practice does not address or use sampling procedures common to the use of trace explosive detectors. It only tests the response of the detector once a test swipe has been successfully introduced into the explosive detector.

    1.4 This practice does not evaluate the effect of contaminants or interferences that may be encountered in sampling for trace explosives in the field.

    1.5 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, 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.


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.230 (Explosion protection)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 32101519(Detectors)


    DOI: 10.1520/E2520-07

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