Forensic Examination of Explosives

A proposed standard from the ASTM International forensic sciences committee (E30) aims to help examiners and investigators identify and analyze explosive material found at a crime scene.

“Explosive materials, such as black powder, smokeless powder, dynamite, and pyrotechnics, are often recovered during criminal investigations,” according to Michelle Evans, a forensic chemist and fire debris technical leader with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “This proposed standard describes various techniques that can be used to meet identification requirements for such intact explosive materials.” 

The proposed standard (WK67862) would be primarily used by forensic laboratories conducting explosives examinations. Evans says that forensic examiners with proper training will be able to refer to this standard to help them select appropriate methods.

Anyone with experience in explosive analysis is encouraged to join the committee’s continued work on this and other standards. Become a member of ASTM

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