Standard Active Last Updated: May 12, 2022
ASTM E2999-17

Standard Test Method for Analysis of Organic Compounds in Smokeless Powder by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy

Significance and Use

5.1 This test method establishes a procedure for the analysis and identification of organic components of smokeless powder by GC-MS and FTIR.

5.2 FTIR is used in the analysis of nitrocellulose, which is a major component of all smokeless powders, and nitroguanidine in triple-base powders.

5.3 GC-MS is used in the analysis of other organic compounds in smokeless powders, such as energetics, stabilizers, plasticizers, and deterrents.

5.4 This test method is used concurrently with E2998 for the analysis of smokeless powders when whole or partial grains are present.

5.5 GC-MS and FTIR are two techniques used in the analysis of smokeless powders. Additional techniques are available that are acceptable for use in the analysis and identification of organic components of smokeless powders, such as liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, capillary electrophoresis, and gas chromatography with flame ionization detection.


1.1 This test method describes the analysis of organic components in smokeless powders by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (1-6)2 and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy.

1.2 This test method is suited for analyzing samples comprised of visible grains (whole or partial) of smokeless powder.

1.3 Analysis of post-blast debris and items containing gunshot residue when visible grains of smokeless powder are not present is beyond the scope of this test method.

1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to inch-pound units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

1.5 This test method involves handling of low explosives and potentially other energetic materials. It is strongly suggested that an analyst be trained in the storage and safe handling of energetic materials and be familiar with the properties and hazards of explosives.

1.6 This test method cannot replace knowledge, skill, or ability acquired through appropriate education, training, and experience and should be used in conjunction with sound professional judgment.

1.7 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, health and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.8 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 14.02
Developed by Subcommittee: E30.01
Pages: 5
DOI: 10.1520/E2999-17
ICS Code: 07.140