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Fixed- and Variable-Temperature Kinetic Models to Predict Evaporation of Petroleum Distillates for Fire Debris Applications

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Department of Chemistry, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
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Forensic Science Program, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Drug Enforcement Administration, 10150 Technology Blvd., Dallas, TX 75220, USA.
Separations 2018, 5(4), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations5040047
Received: 15 July 2018 / Revised: 1 September 2018 / Accepted: 3 September 2018 / Published: 25 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fire Debris Analysis)
Forensic fire debris analysis focuses on the identification of a foreign ignitable liquid in debris collected from the scene of a suspected intentional fire. Chromatograms of the extracted debris are compared to a suitable reference collection containing chromatograms of unevaporated and evaporated ignitable liquids. However, there is no standardized method for the evaporation of ignitable liquids and the process itself can be time consuming, which limits the number of chromatograms of evaporated liquids included in the reference collection. This work describes the development and application of a variable-temperature kinetic model to predict evaporation rate constants and mathematically predict chromatograms corresponding to evaporated ignitable liquids. First-order evaporation rate constants were calculated for 78 selected compounds in diesel, which were used to develop predictive models of evaporation rates. Fixed-temperature models were developed to predict the rate constants at five temperatures (5, 10, 20, 30, 35 °C), yielding a mean absolute percent error (MAPE) of 10.0%. The variable-temperature model was then created from these data by multiple linear regression, yielding a MAPE of 16.4%. The model was applied to generate a reference collection of predicted chromatograms of diesel and kerosene corresponding to a range of evaporation levels. Using the modeled reference collection, successful identification of the liquid and level of evaporation in a test set of chromatograms was demonstrated. View Full-Text
Keywords: kinetic model; evaporation rates; fraction remaining; ignitable liquids; petroleum distillates kinetic model; evaporation rates; fraction remaining; ignitable liquids; petroleum distillates
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McIlroy, J.W.; Smith, R.W.; McGuffin, V.L. Fixed- and Variable-Temperature Kinetic Models to Predict Evaporation of Petroleum Distillates for Fire Debris Applications. Separations 2018, 5, 47.

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