image description

Microscopy of Explosives (1722)


Organic, inorganic, military, commercial and improvised explosives are included. The identification techniques are based on morphology, optical crystallography, microchemical tests and visual thermal methods. Proficiency in polarized light microscopy is assumed and necessary.

Prerequisite: course 1201 or equivalent.

Day 1
• Köhler illumination
• Crystal morphology: crystal systems, symmetry elements, axes, forms, interfacial angles, axial ratios

Day 2
• Crystal Optics I: refractive index determinations, indices of crystals in each crystal system
• Crystal Optics II: Birefringence, retardation, Michel-Lévy chart, extinction, anomalous optical properties, interference figures

Day 3
• Microchemical tests: inorganic ions, organic compounds
• Fusion methods: melting points, identity test, form of crystal-front, optical properties of fusion preparations

Day 4
• Identification schemes for organic and inorganic high explosives
• Isolation and identification of explosive residues

Day 5
• Identification of unknowns

Note: This course runs Monday-Friday with class ending at noon on Friday.