OCCURRENCE OF EXPLOSIONS
An explosion is the product of chemical reactions accompanied by the sudden, rapid buildup of expanding gas pressure, producing violent physical disruption of the surrounding environment. The chemicals of forensic interest may be in various forms, either unreacted or exploded, in bulk or trace, homemade from easily available commercial products or strictly controlled commercial or military explosives.
Explosions are encountered in industrial accidents at shipyards, at chemical manufacturing or storage facilities, in households, and in crime cases related to mischief and terrorism. Such analyses are usually performed under great time pressures and urgency, especially in cases involving terrorism.
TYPES OF EXPLOSIONS
Explosions are classified according to the source or mechanism by which the explosive pressures are produced. They include mechanical, chemical, electrical or nuclear explosions. Examples of commonly encountered explosions include the rupture of a gas storage cylinder (mechanical), and detonation of an improvised explosive device (chemical).
PURPOSE OF EXPLOSION INVESTIGATION & ANALYSIS
Explosion investigations and analysis revolve around two key objectives:
(a) Ascertain its origin and cause, and
(b) Determine whether it was accidental or a crime has been committed.
Forensic findings must provide sufficient information on the factors and circumstances that led to the explosion, and assist the court in assessing and apportioning the responsibility and liability of parties involved.
WHAT CAN OUR EXPERTS DO FOR YOU?
The inherent destructiveness of an explosion often compromises much of the evidence left behind. Explosive ingredients, their precursors and by-products are either consumed in the blast or already present in the environment.
Our forensic experts are well-versed in post-blast debris recovery and can provide advice to investigators on the recovery and preservation of post-blast evidence. At times, we are activated to the scene to identify and collect relevant physical evidence. We are well aware of the technical challenges of post-blast debris analysis, and take into account the benefits and limitations of sample clean-up, extraction and analytical techniques when employing the appropriate methods to identify the energetic materials in post-blast evidence. Additionally, we incorporate findings from other forensic disciplines such as damage analysis to facilitate the reconstruction of events which led to the explosion. In addition to the identification of explosive ingredients, the report may also include findings on the type of packaging materials and electrical components used, and a reconstruction of the explosive device and event.
Please call us at 6459 0494 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions/problems or to request a quotation.
OUR PAST CASES:
These cases usually involved the use of energetic materials such as flammable chemicals and gases, high and low explosives:
- Chevron Oronite chemical explosion
- Benoi fire and explosion
- Compressed natural gas (CNG)-fuelled bus explosion
- Superbowl underground gas mains explosion
- Coroner’s inquiry: LPG gas explosion at Teo Ann Huay Kuan
- 1998 Jurong blast
To find out more about these cases and the challenges in the analysis of post-blast residues, look out for our article “Fire and Explosion” featured in the February 2016 issue of the Singapore Law Gazette.