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21 September 2004 Transport of explosives I: TNT in soil and its equilibrium vapor
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Landmine detection is an important task for military operations and for humanitarian demining. Conventional methods for landmine detection involve measurements of physical properties. Several of these methods fail on the detection of modern mines with plastic enclosures. Methods based on the detection signature explosives chemicals such as TNT and DNT are specific to landmines and explosive devices. However, such methods involve the measurements of the vapor trace, which can be deceiving of the actual mine location because of the complex transport phenomena that occur in the soil neighboring the buried landmine. We report on the results of the study of the explosives subject to similar environmental conditions as the actual mines. Soil samples containing TNT were used to study the effects of aging, temperature and moisture under controlled conditions. The soil used in the investigation was Ottawa sand. A JEOL GCMate II gas chromatograph ñ mass spectrometer coupled to a Tunable Electron Energy Monochromator (TEEM-GC/MS) was used to develop the method of analysis of explosives under enhanced detection conditions. Simultaneously, a GC with micro cell 63Ni, Electron Capture Detector (μECD) was used for analysis of TNT in sand. Both techniques were coupled with Solid-Phase Micro Extraction (SPME) methodology to collect TNT doped sand samples. The experiments were done in both, headspace and immersion modes of SPME for sampling of explosives. In the headspace experiments it was possible to detect appreciable TNT vapors as early as 1 hour after of preparing the samples, even at room temperature (20 °C). In the immersion experiments, I-SPME technique allowed for the detection of concentrations as low as 0.010 mg of explosive per kilogram of soil.
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Bibiana Baez, Sandra Natalia Correa, Samuel P. Hernandez-Rivera, Maritza de Jesus, Miguel E. Castro, Nairmen Mina, and Julio G. Briano "Transport of explosives I: TNT in soil and its equilibrium vapor", Proc. SPIE 5415, Detection and Remediation Technologies for Mines and Minelike Targets IX, (21 September 2004);


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