Coming soon: New inspection method to identify liquid explosives

Written by: Nairita Das
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Washington, Sept 23 (ANI): Researchers are currently testing new equipment that could help detect liquid explosives at airport security checkpoints.

The equipment could also reliably distinguish between liquid explosives and harmless substances such as cola, perfume or shampoo.

Under aviation security regulations introduced in Europe in November 2006, passengers who wish to take liquids such as creams, toothpaste or sunscreen on board must do so in containers no larger than 100 ml (roughly 3.4 fluid oz.)

On November 19, 2009, the EU Regulatory Committee of the Member States passed a proposal to this effect issued by the EU Commission. Under the terms of the proposal, the prohibition of liquids will be lifted in two phases. First, beginning April 20 9, 2011, passengers in transit will be permitted to take liquids along with them.

Under the second phase, beginning April 20 9, 2013, the limit on quantities of liquids will be lifted altogether.

First researchers at the safety laboratories manufacture explosives according to specifications provided by the ECAC. Security services provide the organization with lists of substances to use in manufacturing explosives.

Then, the detection equipment must automatically identify the liquid explosive - as well as any harmless substances - as such. For instance, the equipment must not identify shampoo as an explosive and set off a false alarm.

Individualized testing methods and systems are required: If open containers need to be inspected, for example, then the sensors detect the vapors given off. If luggage screeners need to scan unopened bottles in a tub, on the other hand, then x-ray equipment is used.

"In the past, luggage screening has only identified metals and solid explosives. The screening equipment of the future will also identify liquid explosives. Initial tests at the Frankfurt Airport have already successfully been completed," said Dr. Dirk Rvseling, a researcher at ICT (Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal). (ANI)

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