U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Analysis of Accelerants and Fire Debris Using Aroma Detection Technology

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 43 Issue: 2 Dated: March 1998 Pages: 284-293
S A Barshick
Date Published
10 pages
This study investigates electronic aroma detection technologies for detecting and identifying ignitable liquid accelerants and their residues in suspected arson debris.
Through the analysis of known accelerants and residues, a trained neural network was developed for classifying fire debris samples. Three unknown items taken from actual fire debris that had contained gasoline, kerosene and diesel fuel were classified using this neural network. Diesel fuel residue was correctly identified every time. Inconsistent fingerprint patterns and incorrect classification by the neural network of the other two items may have been the result of variations in sample composition, possibly due to the effects of weathering or increased sample humidities. Sorbent sampling prior to aroma detection reduced these problems and allowed improved neural network classification of the kerosene and gasoline residues. Figures, tables, references