A New Kind of Molotov? Gasoline–Pool Chlorinator Mixtures


  • Presented in part at the Fall 2010 Annual Meeting of the California Association of Criminalists, October 3–7, 2010, in Oakland, CA.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Katherine Hutches, Ph.D.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Forensic Science Laboratory – San Francisco
355 North Wiget Lane
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
E-mail: katherine.hutches@atf.gov


Abstract:  This paper investigates the reaction between pool chlorinators and gasoline. In particular, the propensity for self-ignition and the resulting chemical products were studied. An organic pool chlorinator was combined with gasoline in varying proportions in an attempt to form a hypergolic mixture. None of the combinations resulted in self-ignition, but larger quantities of chlorinator produced vigorous light-colored smoke and a solid mass containing isocyanuric acid and copper chloride. Additionally, the chlorinating abilities of different commercially available pool chlorinators were explored. When Ca(ClO)2 and sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione-based chlorinators were used, the presence of gasoline was still visible after 10 days, despite limited chlorination. The trichloro-s-triazinetrione-based chlorinator, however, caused efficient chlorination of the C2- and C3-alkylbenzenes, making gasoline no longer identifiable.