Compatibilities & Simulants: Explosive Polymer Interactions
Many divisions of the Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE) must collect, handle and store explosives. Of particular concern are improvised or so-called “homemade” explosives (HME). Often these are materials examined and rejected by conventional militaries as too hazardous to handle, but for the HSE there is a high probability that they will frequently encounter such materials. As an outgrowth of characterizing these materials (R1-A1), this project is tasked to evaluate the compatibility of various chemicals with HME. The motivation is to provide safe protocols for HSE when they encounter HME and components associated with construction of explosive products. Some questions we have addressed are as follows:
- Can HME be packaged to reduce the possibility of an explosive event?
- What is the best approach to collection of HME evidence?
- Are there ways to improve stability in order to prevent accidental explosive events?
Attempts to answer these questions have generated research resulting in the development of a product consisting of a trace amount of explosive encapsulated in polymeric material that releases the scent of the explosive for detection by dogs and electronic instruments. The aids are non-explosive, non-toxic and safe to handle. This eliminates the necessity of handling bulk amounts of hazardous even detonable materials. The weak link in any detection method is sample collection.
We are studying new approaches to the swab collection of explosives residue. As the HSE continues to deal with these highly hazardous materials, this project aims to provide them with safer more effective methods of performing their tasks.
This approach provides canine handlers and instrument vendors with safe access to stored hazardous explosives at trace levels for use in the detection, calibration, and validation of instruments as well as the training of explosives detecting canines.Year 4 Workplan
Faculty and Staff Currently Involved in Project
Students Currently Involved in Project
- Jeff Canaria
University of Rhode Island
- Jon Canino
- Maria Donnelly
- Michelle Gonsalves
- Rebecca Levine
- Devon Swanson
- Guang Zhang