Application Note: Characterization of Residual Gunpowder Recovered from Articles of Clothing Utilizing Thermal Desorption GC/MS
8 February 2019

Gunshot residue (GSR) is the collective name of the complex mixture of organic and inorganic particles originating from the firearm, the firearm ammunition and the combustion products, which are produced during the discharge of a firearm. Organic compounds mainly originate from propellant powders, firearm lubricants, some products of their transformation and hydrocarbons. Current testing methods primarily employ the use of scanning electron microscopy, which places the lead focus on inorganic components. Utilizing Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry to identify unknown organic compounds creates a powerful tool in the forensics market, specifically GSR. Using thermal desorptionto extract residue constituents form articles of clothing could prove to be an effective technique in analyzing GSR for forensic analysis. Thermal desorption was used to replace the standard solvent extraction methods. The thermal desorption method recovered more stabilizers and accelerants than the original solvent method.