NIST Test Samples Aid Explosives Detection

This non-explosive standard reference material simulates the size and behavior of residues left after handling the explosives PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate) and TATP (triacetone triperoxide).

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently released another standard reference material to help in detecting two explosive compounds known to be used by terrorists; this is the third such SRM to date from the agency.

The new test samples simulate the size and behavior of residues left after handling the explosives PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate) and TATP (triacetone triperoxide). NIST's announcement said instrument developers, academic researchers, and government labs can use them to validate new detector designs.

The residues from handling the explosive compounds may be on someone's skin or clothing. They are "invisible to the naked eye and difficult to remove but may be detected by sensitive explosives detectors," according to NIST. "Airport security personnel collect residues with handheld swipe wands. The swipes are then heated to vaporize the explosives, and the vapors analyzed in a tabletop detector. Current detectors typically use a technique called ion mobility mass spectrometry that can recognize specific ionized chemicals based on their chemical properties. Both PETN and TATP are relatively difficult to detect in the field. The compounds were used in failed terrorist attacks by the 'shoe bomber' in 2002 and the 'underwear bomber' in 2009."

Its announcement of the reference said the samples are made from inert particles coated with a trace amount of the two explosives.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Analyze Incident Data

    Collect relevant incident data, analyze trends, and generate accurate regulatory reports, including OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 logs, through IndustrySafe’s extensive incident reporting and investigation module.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January / February 2019

    Featuring:

    • PREVENTING ERRORS
      Production vs. Safety 
    • EMERGENCY SHOWERS & EYEWASH
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
    • CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
      The State of Contractor Safety
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue