ASTM-E1388 Standard Practice for Static Headspace Sampling of Vapors from Fire Debris Samples

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Standard Practice for Static Headspace Sampling of Vapors from Fire Debris Samples



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1.1 This practice describes the procedure for removing a vapor sample from the headspace of a fire debris container for the purpose of detecting or identifying ignitable liquid residues.

1.2 Separation and concentration procedures are listed in the referenced documents. (See Practices E1386, E1412, E1413, E2154, and E3189.)

1.3 This practice is intended for use by competent forensic science practitioners with the requisite formal education, discipline-specific training (see Practice E2917), and demonstrated proficiency to perform forensic casework.

1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.6 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

Significance and Use

4.1 This practice is intended for use as a sampling technique within a general scheme for the analysis of ignitable liquids and ignitable liquid residues from fire debris samples in accordance with Guide E3245.

4.2 Headspace samples obtained using this practice are screened using a gas chromatograph with a flame ionization detector (GC-FID) or analyzed using a gas chromatograph with a mass spectrometer (GC-MS, refer to Test Method E1618).

4.3 This practice is most applicable for sampling light to medium range ignitable liquids.3, 4, 5, 6 It is not capable of sufficient recovery of heavy range ignitable liquids to support accurate analysis using Test Method E1618.

Note 1: When present in high concentrations, highly volatile compounds can saturate the headspace, inhibiting the recovery of less volatile compounds by this practice. This skewed recovery can lead to the detection or identification of only the more volatile compounds in the sample.

4.4 This practice is useful for sampling fire debris to screen for the presence of ignitable liquid residues prior to extraction with other techniques, such as those described in Practices E1386, E1412, E1413, and E2154, and E3189.

4.4.1 This practice is less capable of recovering limited quantities of ignitable liquids than Practices E1386, E1412, E1413, E2154, and E3189, particularly for heavy range compounds.

4.5 This practice only removes a small aliquot of the headspace vapor from a closed container; therefore, the fire debris sample remains in approximately the same condition in which it was submitted, and reanalysis using a new headspace sample, or a different sampling technique, is possible. However, removing multiple headspace samples continually reduces the concentration of ignitable liquid vapors, if originally present, and can eventually result in non-recovery by static headspace sampling.

Note 2: The headspace sample collected using this practice is consumed in the subsequent screening by GC-FID or analysis by GC-MS.


fire debris samples; forensic science; headspace; ignitable liquid;

To find similar documents by ASTM Volume:

14.02 (General Test Methods; Forensic Psychophysiology; Forensic Sciences; Terminology; Conformity Assessment; Statistical Methods; Nanotechnology; Forensic Engineering; Manufacture of Pharmaceutical Products)

To find similar documents by classification:

13.220.99 (Other standards related to protection against fire)

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Publication Date

March 15, 2024

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3 pages

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