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Forensic Expertise Area : Explosions & Explosives / Chemical Forensics


Within the field of Chemical Forensics the main aim of the analysis performed is the identification/comparison of compounds/materials. The physical properties of materials (melting point, phase transitions, decomposition, etc.) generally have less value in these forensic investigations.

However, internationally, some forensic laboratories (e.g. within the field of Explosives), use thermal techniques such as thermographic analysis (TGA), (modulated) differential scanning calorimetry ((M)DSC), Evolved Gas Analysis, micro-calorimetry (TAM), …, and in literature there are examples of these kinds of techniques applied in forensics.

The literature research requested should focus on the link between the properties that are determined in thermal analysis techniques and the (potential) forensic applications, with an emphasis on the application within the field of forensic explosives analysis.



  1. Max M. Houck, Materials Analysis in Forensic Science, Elsevier, 2016, ISBN:0340548207, ISBN:978-12-800574-3;
  2. Barbara Stuart, Forensic Analytical Techniques, Chapter 8, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2013, ISBN:9780470687277;
  3. A. Riga, Thermal analysis as an aid to forensics: Alkane melting and oxidative stability of wool, Thermochimica Acta, 1998, Volume 324, Issues 1–2, 21, pages 151-163;
  4. A. Nazarian and C. Presser, Forensic analysis methodology for thermal and chemical characterization of homemade explosives, Thermochimica Acta, Volume 576, 20, Pages 60-70


Basic understanding in forensic chemistry. Affinity with illicit drugs analysis, mass spectrometry and IR/NIR/Raman spectroscopy is recommended.

Department: Chemical and Physical Traces


Supervisor :  dr. M. Koeberg / dr. A. Hulsbergen-van den Berg

UVA Co-assessor : 

Arian van Asten

UVA Coordinator :  Arian van Asten/Yorike Hartman