Smokeless powders are used for both civilian and military purposes. They are widely available for purchase by anyone who wants to hand load their own ammunition for recreational use. Smokeless powders may also be used to manufacture improvised explosive devices such as pipe bombs and as such are of interest to the law enforcement community.
The Smokeless Powders Database is a regularly updated reference collection of information and data on powders obtained from various sources including vendors and manufacturers. It is designed to assist the forensic explosives analyst in characterizing, classifying and comparing smokeless powder samples based on their physical and chemical properties. Each database record contains a photomicrograph of each powder, source information, physical characteristics as well as GC-MS and FTIR data identifying the chemical components.
The database was developed by the Explosives Database Committee of the Technical Working Group for Fire and Explosions (TWGFEX) and is maintained by the National Center for Forensic Science (NCFS) at the University of Central Florida. It orginates from the pioneering work of Ron Kelly formerly of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Wayne Moorehead formerly of the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Forensic Sciences Division in California.