Work Item
ASTM WK85823

New Guide for Development, Verification, Validation, and Documentation of Explosive and Contraband Simulants for Security Screening Systems

1. Scope

The intent of this guide is to provide general considerations for the development, verification, validation, and documentation of simulants for explosives and other hazardous materials. Simulants, inert materials that are designed to replicate the properties of explosives or other hazardous materials, allow for test and evaluation activities to be conducted in a safe manner by removing the inherent risk associated with testing live explosives or hazardous materials. This standard guide facilitates a consistent methodology for development, preparation, verification, validation, and documentation of simulants.
This guide provides direction on defining simulant’s use (i.e., scope/application), defining simulant-design requirements, developing a simulant prototype via defined manufacturing and preparation procedures, verifying and validating that the simulant prototype meets the design requirements, and documenting simulant-development activities and simulant preparation.
This guide is directed at bulk simulants for explosive detection systems and millimeter wave body screening portals, but is also applicable to other threat detection methods. It is intended for people and organizations tasked with developing simulants to mimic certain characteristics and properties of explosives and other hazardous materials.


Hazardous material testing; simulant design; simulant development; simulant material; explosive simulants


Simulants, inert materials designed to replicate the properties of explosives or other hazardous materials, are developed and sold commercially by foreign and domestic entities. For homeland security agencies, simulants are used for training of screening officers and testing of detection algorithms used in explosive detection systems and full-body scanners. While most simulant manufacturers specify the simulant’s primary intended purpose (e.g., “x-ray accurate”), there is often little evidence (i.e., data) that the products match the physical properties they claim.
Developing a standard applicable to explosive simulants would provide guidance that commercial simulant manufacturers and third parties could follow, providing a level of scrutiny that does not currently exist and resulting in greater confidence in the simulants

The title and scope are in draft form and are under development within this ASTM Committee.


Developed by Subcommittee: E54.01

Committee: E54

Staff Manager: Kevin Shanahan

Work Item Status

Date Initiated: 04-03-2023

Technical Contact: Michael Brogden