Training dogs to detect triacetone triperoxide (TATP)

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



Dogs have been used successfully to detect drugs and conventional high explosives. The world-wide rise in terrorist activities has placed emphasis on the detection of non-conventional explosive materials such as the multi-functional peroxides, triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD). This study demonstrates that dogs can detect both solid TATP and TATP adsorbed to cotton balls. An effective procedure to train dogs to detect TATP using cotton balls permeated with TATP vapor is provided. The various trials showed that dogs were capable of detecting as little as 200 μg of TATP adsorbed to a one gram cotton ball under a variety of circumstances. However, since TATP vaporizes rapidly at room temperature, significant depletion of TATP from cotton balls can occur in as little as 20 minutes, hampering the ability of the dogs to detect it. The TATP depleted cotton ball can be refreshed by returning it to a sealed container with TATP residue for about 20 minutes. A presumed decomposition product of TATP, acetone, cannot be used in place of TATP to train dogs.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering