Pyrotechnic Reaction Residue Particle Identification by SEM / EDS

K. L. Kosanke, B. J. Kosanke & Richard C. Dujay

ABSTRACT: Today the most reliable method for detecting gunshot residue is through the combined use of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) of the resulting X-rays. In recent years, this same methodology has found increasing use in detecting and characterizing pyrotechnic reaction residue particles (PRRPs). This is accomplished by collecting particulate samples from a surface in the immediate area of the pyrotechnic reaction. Suspect PRRPs are identified by their morphology (typically 1 to 20 micron spheroidal particles) using a SEM, which are then analyzed for the elements they contain using X-ray EDS. This will help to identify the general type of pyrotechnic composition involved. Further, more detailed laboratory comparisons can be made using various known pyrotechnic formulations.

Keywords: pyrotechnic reaction residue particles, PRRP, primer gunshot residue, PGSR, scanning electron microscopy, SEM, energy dispersive spectroscopy, EDS, morphology, X-ray elemental analysis, forensics

Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 6, (2001-2002), pp 12-25

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