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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Black and Smokeless Powders: Technologies for Finding Bombs and the Bomb Makers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6289.
×

Black and Smokeless Powders

Technologies for Finding Bombs and the Bomb Makers

Committee on Smokeless and Black Powder

Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology

Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1998

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Black and Smokeless Powders: Technologies for Finding Bombs and the Bomb Makers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6289.
×

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

This study was supported by Contract No. TATF-96-17 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of the Treasury. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 98-87764

International Standard Book Number 0-309-06246-2

Additional copies of this report are available from:
National Academy Press
2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Box 285 Washington, DC 20055 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu

Copyright 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Black and Smokeless Powders: Technologies for Finding Bombs and the Bomb Makers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6289.
×

COMMITTEE ON SMOKELESS AND BLACK POWDER

Edwin P. Przybylowicz,

Eastman Kodak Company (retired),

Chair

Margaret A. Berger,

Brooklyn Law School

Alexander Beveridge,

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Leo R. Gizzi, Consultant,

Christiansburg, Virginia

Janice M. Hiroms, Consultant,

Crosby, Texas

Karl V. Jacob,

The Dow Chemical Company

Charles Parmenter,

Indiana University

Per-Anders Persson,

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Walter F. Rowe,

George Washington University

Roger L. Schneider,

Rho Sigma Associates, Inc.

Ronald L. Simmons,

Naval Surface Warfare Center, U.S. Navy

Judith Bannon Snow,

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Ronald R. Vandebeek,

Natural Resources Canada

Raymond S. Voorhees,

U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Liaisons, Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology

John J. Wise,

Mobil Research and Development Corporation (retired)

Barbara J. Garrison,

Pennsylvania State University

Project Staff

Elizabeth L. Grossman, Program Officer

Christopher K. Murphy, Program Officer

Greg Eyring, Consultant

David Grannis, Project Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Black and Smokeless Powders: Technologies for Finding Bombs and the Bomb Makers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6289.
×

BOARD ON CHEMICAL SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGY

Larry Overman,

University of California at Irvine,

Co-chair

John J. Wise,

Mobil Research and Development Corporation,

Co-chair

Hans C. Andersen,

Stanford University

John L. Anderson,

Carnegie Mellon University

David C. Bonner,

Westlake Group

Philip H. Brodsky,

Monsanto Company

Gregory R. Choppin,

Florida State University

Barbara J. Garrison,

Pennsylvania State University

Louis C. Glasgow,

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company

Joseph G. Gordon II,

IBM Almaden Research Center

Robert H. Grubbs,

California Institute of Technology

Keith E. Gubbins,

North Carolina State University

Victoria F. Haynes,

B.F. Goodrich Company

Jiri Jonas,

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Gary E. McGraw,

Eastman Chemical Company

Gregory A. Petsko,

Brandeis University

Wayne H. Pitcher Jr.,

Genencor Corporation

Peter J. Stang,

University of Utah

Joan S. Valentine,

University of California at Los Angeles

William J. Ward III,

General Electric Company

John T. Yates, Jr.,

University of Pittsburgh

Staff

Douglas J. Raber, Director

Denis Cioffi, Program Officer

David Grannis, Project Assistant

Maria P. Jones, Senior Project Assistant

Ruth McDiarmid, Senior Program Officer

Christopher K. Murphy, Program Officer

Sybil A. Paige, Administrative Associate

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Black and Smokeless Powders: Technologies for Finding Bombs and the Bomb Makers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6289.
×

COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS

Robert J. Hermann,

United Technologies Corporation,

Co-chair

W. Carl Lineberger,

University of Colorado,

Co-chair

Peter M. Banks,

Environmental Research Institute of Michigan

William Browder,

Princeton University

Lawrence D. Brown,

University of Pennsylvania

Ronald G. Douglas,

Texas A&M University

John E. Estes,

University of California at Santa Barbara

Martha Haynes,

Cornell University

L. Louis Hegedus,

Elf Atochem North America, Inc.

John E. Hopcroft,

Cornell University

Carol M. Jantzen,

Westinghouse Savannah River Company

Paul G. Kaminski,

Technovation, Inc.

Kenneth H. Keller,

University of Minnesota

Kenneth I. Kellermann,

National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Margaret G. Kivelson,

University of California at Los Angeles

Daniel Kleppner,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

John Kreick, Sanders,

a Lockheed Martin Company

Marsha I. Lester,

University of Pennsylvania

Nicholas P. Samios,

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Chang-Lin Tien,

University of California, Berkeley

Norman Metzger,

Executive Director

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Black and Smokeless Powders: Technologies for Finding Bombs and the Bomb Makers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6289.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Black and Smokeless Powders: Technologies for Finding Bombs and the Bomb Makers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6289.
×

Preface

The Committee on Smokeless and Black Powder (see Appendix A) was appointed by the National Research Council (NRC) in response to the mandate in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 to address two basic areas: (1) the feasibility of adding tracer elements to smokeless and black powder for the purpose of detection and (2) the feasibility of adding tracer elements to smokeless and black powder for the purpose of identification. (See Appendix B for a detailed statement of task.) As part of these tasks, the committee considered potential risks to human life or safety, utility for law enforcement, effects on the quality and performance of the powders for their intended lawful use, potential effects on the environment, cost-effectiveness, and susceptibility to countermeasures in the evaluation of markers and taggants.

The study focused on science and technology issues related to detecting bombs and identifying bombers, with the goal of framing the issues and furnishing a report that provides a clear description of the technical options that exist to limit the threat from bombings that use smokeless or black powder. This report presents the committee's conclusions and recommendations and provides advice to officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms on which to base recommendations to Congress.

In its initial meetings (Appendix C), the committee received a number of briefings that are summarized in Appendixes D and E. The committee is grateful to the individuals who provided technical information and insight during these briefings. This information helped to provide a sound foundation on which the committee was able to base its work. The committee solicited input from the scientific community and affected stakeholders on the issues delineated in the committee's charge and considered all such sources of information throughout the study.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Black and Smokeless Powders: Technologies for Finding Bombs and the Bomb Makers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6289.
×

This study was conducted under the auspices of the NRC's Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology and its staff. The committee acknowledges this support. The chair is particularly grateful to the members of this committee, who worked diligently and effectively on a demanding schedule to produce this report.

EDWIN P. PRZYBYLOWICZ, CHAIR

COMMITTEE ON SMOKELESS AND BLACK POWDER

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Black and Smokeless Powders: Technologies for Finding Bombs and the Bomb Makers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6289.
×

Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's (NRC's) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The contents of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report:


Randy Becker, Los Angeles Police Department,

Paul W. Cooper, Sandia National Laboratories (retired),

Paul B. Ferrara, Virginia Division of Forensic Science,

W. Carl Lineberger, University of Colorado,

Lyle O. Malotky, Federal Aviation Administration,

David W. McCall, AT&T Bell Laboratories (retired),

Neale A. Messina, Princeton Combustion Research Laboratories,

Roy R. Miller, United Technology,

Hyla S. Napadensky, Napadensky Energetics, Inc. (retired),

Harrison Shull, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School (retired),

Peter J. Stang, University of Utah,

Frank H. Stillinger, Bell Laboratories, and

Patrick H. Windham, Windham Consulting.


Although the individuals listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Black and Smokeless Powders: Technologies for Finding Bombs and the Bomb Makers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6289.
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This page in the original is blank.
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Black and Smokeless Powders: Technologies for Finding Bombs and the Bomb Makers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6289.
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Detecting Improvised Explosive Devices Containing Unmarked Powders

 

42

   

Portal Scenario

 

42

   

Suspicious Package Scenario

 

45

   

Bomb Threat Scenario

 

46

   

Markers for Black and Smokeless Powders

 

46

   

Characteristics of an Ideal Marker

 

46

   

Approaches to Marking

 

48

   

Vapor Markers

 

49

   

Radiation-emitting Markers

 

50

   

Other Marking Approaches

 

51

   

Discussion

 

51

   

Findings and Recommendations

 

53

3

 

Identification

 

57

   

Introduction

 

57

   

Methods and Approaches

 

58

   

The Role of Physical Evidence in Bombing Cases

 

58

   

Use of Black and Smokeless Powder Databases

 

61

   

Tracing the Product Through the Distribution Chain

 

62

   

Taggants for Black and Smokeless Powders

 

65

   

Characteristics of an Ideal Taggant

 

65

   

Taggant Technologies

 

66

   

Taggant Classification

 

67

   

Evaluation of Taggant Concepts Against Ideal Characteristics

 

69

   

Experience with Taggants in Explosives

 

82

   

Taggants in High Explosives

 

82

   

Use of Taggants in Switzerland

 

83

   

Taggants in Black and Smokeless Powders

 

84

   

Summary

 

85

   

Discussion

 

85

   

Implications of Taggant Use for the Analysis of Black and Smokeless Powders

 

89

   

Matching the Bomb Filler to Materials in a Suspect's Possession

 

90

   

Findings and Recommendations

 

90

 

 

Bibliography

 

97

 

 

Appendixes

 

 

   

A Biographical Sketches of Committee Members

 

103

   

B Statement of Task and Enabling Legislation

 

107

   

C Committee Meetings

 

112

Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Black and Smokeless Powders: Technologies for Finding Bombs and the Bomb Makers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6289.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Black and Smokeless Powders: Technologies for Finding Bombs and the Bomb Makers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6289.
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Some 600 pipe bomb explosions have occurred annually in the United States during the past several years. How can technology help protect the public from these homemade devices?

This book, a response to a Congressional mandate, focuses on ways to improve public safety by preventing bombings involving smokeless or black powders and apprehending the makers of the explosive devices. It examines technologies used for detection of explosive devices before they explode--including the possible addition of marking agents to the powders--and technologies used in criminal investigations for identification of these powders--including the possible addition of taggants to the powders--in the context of current technical capabilities.

The book offers general conclusions and recommendations about the detection of devices containing smokeless and black powders and the feasibility of identifying makers of the devices from recovered powder or residue. It also makes specific recommendations about marking and tagging technologies. This volume follows the work reported in Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings (NRC 1998), which studied similar issues for bombings that utilize high explosives.

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