Recovery of oxygenated ignitable liquids from mock fire debris utilizing zeolite 13X
MetadataShow full item record
The detection and identification of the oxygenated class of ignitable liquids is a complex issue for the fire debris analyst. The oxygenated compounds are difficult to recover using traditional analytical techniques since their chemical characteristics are vastly different from those of the petroleum products that compose the majority of the ignitable liquid classes. Previous research has demonstrated that the use of zeolite 13X as an adsorbent in heated passive headspace concentration provides increased recovery of oxygenated compounds in comparison to the conventional activated charcoal adsorbent. This hypothesis was further tested in this work using more realistic casework scenarios. Various carpet, carpet padding and wood types were utilized in a number of burn conditions in order to determine if any substrate interferences were present; as well as to monitor the recovery of oxygenated compounds from these substrates using the proposed zeolite extraction method. The substrates explored did not contribute significant background interference to complicate the identification of the oxygenated compounds. In addition, small volumes of the oxygenated ignitable liquids were easily recovered and identified from all burn states using the zeolite method. A dual-mode extraction with both zeolites and activated charcoal strips as adsorbents was utilized with mixtures of oxygenated compounds and petroleum products to determine if a variety of ignitable liquid classes could be detected and identified in the presence of a variety of substrate matrices within a single extraction protocol. The dual-mode extraction showed that both the oxygenated compounds and petroleum products could be detected and identified using a single extraction protocol in the presence of various substrate matrices. Lastly, an experiment was devised to compare the recovery of the oxygenated compounds using various total available surface areas of both zeolites and activated charcoal strips in order to determine which adsorbent exhibits a greater recovery when all other experimental conditions remain constant. When the surface areas were equalized between the zeolites and activated charcoal strips, the activated charcoal exhibited a greater recovery of the oxygenated compounds. However, the cost effectiveness of the zeolites allows for a greater amount of zeolite beads to be used in order to achieve the same recovery as the activated charcoal strips for a much lower price. Therefore, the findings from this work, in combination with previous research, continue to support the use of zeolite 13X as an alternative adsorbent for the recovery of oxygenated ignitable liquids from fire debris evidence.