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Substrate Pyrolysis Database Expansion, Evaluation and Use

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Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $396,719)

As submitted by the proposer: The fire debris analyst’s ability to successfully identify or explain the origin of pyrolysis products plays an important role fire debris analysis. The National Center for Forensic Science at the University of Central Florida has created a Substrate Database in collaboration with the Scientific Working Group for Fire and Explosion. This proposal seeks funding to expand the Substrate Database by adding 1,350 new records over a three year period. The new records will result from utilizing multiple pyrolysis/combustion methods and multiple conditions applied to 150 new substrates. The data will be freely available to fire debris analysts in the U.S. and around the world to aid in casework. The existing Ignitable Liquids Reference Collection database and the upgraded Substrate Database will be analyzed to identify frequently occurring chemical components and these compounds will be verified by reference materials. The frequencies of occurrence of the compounds will be tabulated and the correspondence of pyrolysis/combustion products with ignitable liquids will be determined between classes of building materials (carpet types, woods, plastics, etc.) and ASTM E1618 ignitable liquid classes. The expanded Substrate Database will also aid in assessing fire debris evidential value. This developmental research will result in a forensic casework database that will be used by fire debris analysts on a daily basis, with the added benefit of a greater understanding of the relationships between ignitable liquids and pyrolysis/combustion products that comes from mining and combining data from two forensic databases. This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 15, 2015