Substrate Database



The Ignitable Liquids Reference Collection Committee (ILRCC) has worked with the National Center for Forensic Science (NCFS) at the University of Central Florida (UCF), specifically Michael Sigman, PhD and Mary Williams, MS, to develop and post a substrate database composed of various common materials both burned and unburned. NCFS- UCF administers the substrate database as well as prepares, analyzes, and populates the database with data from the analysis of new materials on a regular basis. Before being added, the data is reviewed by the ILRCC for major peak identification and determining if the resulting data resembles that of an ignitable liquid. The controlled burn conditions of the method represent only one of the potential results from the burning of the substrate. Variations in the compounds resulting from burning will exist depending on variations to the geometry of the substrate, the application of heat, available oxygen, and the presence of other substrates whose burning will contribute to the background pattern. Burned substrates often contribute to the chemical background that may interfere with the recognition and unambiguous identification of an ignitable liquid in fire debris. The effect of the interference is often dependent on the relative concentrations of the ignitable liquid and components from the substrate and may be mitigated through the use of ion profiling and mass spectral comparisons. It is hoped that this substrate database may find use in assisting the fire debris analyst in recognizing and attributing many of interferences and co-eluting compounds seen in the backgrounds of their chromatographic and mass spectral data.


The Substrate Database is a tool designed for screening purposes only. It does not replace the need for obtaining comparison samples to evaluate the matrix. Please note that comparison samples should be analyzed on the same instrument utilizing the same instrumental conditions as casework. Classification of any ignitable liquid residues identified within the substrate database parallels the ASTM E1618-11 and is a consensus from a committee of practicing fire debris analysts. Unlike, the ILRC, there is no reference substrate materials for purchase.


Funding for the Substrate Database has been provided by the University of Central Florida and through grants awarded by the National Institute of Justice. To cite the database use the following: online Substrate Database [internet]. National Center for Forensic Science, University of Central Florida. [cited yy/mm/dd], Available from: