Researchers in Ohio are reporting development of an inexpensive portable test for accurately identifying flammable liquids used in arson -- the leading cause of fires and the second leading cause of fire deaths in the United States.
Identification of flammable liquids used in arson usually requires time-consuming laboratory tests, Yao Lu and Peter Harrington point out. The new test, called gas chromatography-differential mobility spectrometry (GC-DMS), works fast and is small enough for use in the field, they say.
In laboratory studies, the researchers added seven different flammable liquids to carpet samples and then ignited the samples to simulate an arson event. Analysis of the burned carpet with GC-DMS identified the individual flammable liquids with an accuracy rate of 99 percent. The results demonstrate that this novel test "could be successfully used for forensic analysis of ignitable liquids from fire debris," the report states.
Their study is scheduled for the Sept. 1 issue of ACS' Analytical Chemistry.
Article: "Forensic Application of Gas Chromatography-Differential Mobility Spectrometry with Two-Way Classification of Ignitable Liquids from Fire Debris"
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