Characterization of the Products Formed by the Reaction of Trichlorocyanuric Acid with 2-Propanol

Authors

  • P. Mark L. Sandercock Ph.D.,

    1. Trace Evidence Services, National Centre for Forensic Services—Alberta, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 15707-118 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5V 1B7.
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  • Julie S. Barnett Ph.D.

    1. Trace Evidence Services, National Centre for Forensic Services—Alberta, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 15707-118 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5V 1B7.
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Additional information and reprint requests:
P. Mark L. Sandercock, Ph.D.
Trace Evidence Services
National Centre for Forensic Services—Alberta
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
15707-118 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
Canada T5V 1B7
E-mail: mark.sandercock@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

Abstract

Abstract:  We report a recent investigation into the death of a cat that was initially thought to involve intentionally burning the animal via the use of an ignitable liquid. The exposure of the animal to flame was ruled out. Instead, forensic investigation revealed the intentional mixing together of a common outdoor swimming pool chlorinator, trichlorocyanuric acid (TCCA), and 2-propanol (aka, isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol). The reaction of these two chemicals resulted in the formation of cyanuric acid residue, hydrochloric acid, and the evolution of a significant volume of chlorine gas. Further α-chlorination side reactions also occurred between 2-propanol and TCCA to produce a variety of chlorinated 2-propanone species that were detected on the submitted evidence. The identification of the products of both the main reaction and the side reactions allowed the authors to determine what chemicals were originally mixed together by the culprit.

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