Ion Chromatographic Method for the Simultaneous Determination of Anions and Cations in Firecrackers and Matches Samples as Known Potential Explosives

Muhammad Amin, Lee Wah Lim


A reference ion chromatography method based on column switching has been presented for the simultaneous determining anions (Cl, ClO3, NO2, SO42, and NO3) and/or cations (NH4+, Na+, K+, Ca2+, and Mg2+) using one pump, one type of mobile phase, and one detector. The reference method performed anion-exchange column and cation-exchange column and arranged serially via one 10-port valve. The determination of either anions or cations in one determination system could be made by switching the valve. When the use of 1.25 mM trimellitic acid as a mobile phase and the instrument was operated at a flow rate of 0.6 mL/min, five anions and five cations were determined on the anion-exchange column and the cation-exchange column, respectively. All anions target could be determined completely within 55 minutes, whereas the cations target could be determined within 35 minutes. The calculation of limit of detection using S/N=3 was 3.85 − 14.10 µM for anions and 2.95 − 10.58 µM for cations. The relative standard deviations of all ions were less than 3.82%, 3.29%, and 3.21% for retention time, peak area, and peak height, respectively. The reference method was then applied for the simultaneous determining anions and/or cations contained in firecrackers and matches samples as known potentially explosives.


anions and cations; column switching; firecrackers; ion chromatography; matches

Full Text:



Amin, M., Lim, L.W., and Takeuchi, T., 2007. Tunable Separation of Anions and Cations by Column Switching in Ion Chromatography. Talanta 71(4), 1470-1475.

Amin, M., Lim, L.W., and Takeuchi, T., 2008. Determination of Common Inorganic Anions and Cations by Non-suppressed Ion Chromatography with Column Switching. Journal of Chromatography A 1182, 169-175.

Amin, M., 2014. Tracing Terrorist through the Determination of Cations and Anions Concentration in Palm Washing Samples Using Ion Chromatography Technique. Indonesian Journal of Applied Chemistry 16(1), 53-61.

Doyle, J.M., and Mccord, B., 1998. Novel Electrolyte for the Analysis of Cations in Low Explosive Residue by Capillary Electrophoresis. Journal of Chromatography B: Biomedical Science and Application 714(1), 105-111.

Feng, J., Guo, B., Lin, J.M., Xu, J., Zhou, H., Sun, Y., Liu, Y., Quan, Y., and Lu, X., 2008. Determination of Inorganic Ions in Explosives Residues Using Capillary Zone Electrophoresis. Chinese Journal of Chromatography 26(6), 667-671.

Grushka, E., and Grinberg, N., 2007. Advance in Chromatography. CRC Press, USA. Vol. 46: 7-12.

Hopper, K.G., LeClair, H., and Mccord, B.R., 2005. A Novel Method for Analysis of Explosive Residue by Simultaneous Detection of Anions and Cations via Capillary Zone Electrophoresis. Talanta 67(2), 304-312.

Iskandarani, Z., and Miller, T.E., 1985. Simultaneous Independent Analysis of Anions and Cations Using Indirect Photometric Chromatography. Analytical Chemistry 57(8), 1591-1594. 10.1021/ac00285a021.

Jackson, P.E., Thomas, D., and Chassaniol, K., 2003. Environmental Analysis of Inorganic Anions and Perchlorate by Ion Chromatography. ACS National Meeting Book of Abstracts 222, 3-15. 10.1021/bk-2004-0872.ch001.

Johns, C., Shellie, R. A., Potter, O. G., O’reilly, J. W., Hutchinson, J. P., Guijt, R. M., Breadmore, M. C., Hilder, E. F., Dicinoski, G. W. and Haddad, P. R., 2008. Identification of Homemade Inorganic Explosives by Ion Chromatographic Analysis of Post-blast Residues. Journal of Chromatography A 1182(2), 205-214.

Jones, V.K., and Tarter, J.G., 1984. Single Injection Ion Chromatographic Analysis of Both Anions and Cations. Journal of Chromatography A 312, 456–460.

Meng, H.B., Wang, T.R., Guo, B.Y., Hashi, Y., Guo, C.X., Lin, J.M., 2008. Simultaneous Determination of Inorganic Anions and Cations in Explosive Residues by Ion Chromatography. Talanta 76(2), 241-245. 10.1016/j.talanta.2008.01.054.

Mishra, M.K., and Jaiswal, G.K., 2017. Analysis of Post Blast Residue Material in Soil Sample for Forensic Consideration. IOSR Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences (IOSR-JPBS) 12(4), 50-52.

Ohta, K., Tanaka, K., and Fritz, J.S., 1996. Non-suppressed Ion Chromatography of Inorganic Anions, Magnesium and Calcium Ions using a Pyromellitate Eluent and Its Application in Evaluating Environmental Water Quality. Journal of Chromatography A 731 (1-2), 179-186. 10.1016/0021-9673(95)01214-1.

Okada, T., and Kuwamoto, T., 1984. Formation Mechanism of Dip Peaks in Non-suppressed Ion Chromatography. Analytical Chemistry 56(12), 2073-2078. 10.1021/ac00276a022.

Saari-Nordhaus, R., and Anderson Jr, J. M., 1991. Simultaneous Analysis of Anions and Cations by Single-Column Ion Chromatography. Journal of Chromatography A 549, 257-264.

Weiss, J., 1995. Ion chromatography. 2nd ed., VCH, Weinheim.


  • There are currently no refbacks.