Science and Technology of Energetic Materials

Vol.63, No.6 (2002)

Research paper

Forensic characteristics of organic peroxide explosives (TATP, DADP and HMTD)
Gail J. McKay


Triacetone triperoxide (TATP), diacetone diperoxide (DADP) and hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD) are sensitive and powerful organic peroxide explosives. They have been encountered by the UK Police, both interrorist and non - terrorist cases. Initially, in response to the recovery of substantial quantity of TATP in the UK, it was found that there was a lack of reliable chemical, explosive and analytical data on organic peroxide explosives. Since then, extensive research has been carried out by FEL in order to build up a detailed forensic knowledge of these materials. A systematic study of the physical and chemical properties of these explosives along with methods for qualitative analysis and detection has been undertaken. The research carried out by FEL has round TATP, DADP and HMTD to be powerful primary explosives. They can be prepared in the home from readily available raw materials, although their sensitivity to accidental initiation makes them extremely hazardous materials to handle. Information on their synthesis and properties has been published and is available on the Internet. They exist as white solids which burn rapidly or instantaneously when exposed to a naked name. Analytical techniques including FT - IR, TLC, GC / MS and LC / MS can be used for their forensic analysis and identirlcation. FEL has also developed a low - hazard TATP training aid for UK Police explosive search dogs.
© British Crown copyright 2002. Published with the permission of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory on behalf of the Controller of HMSO.

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