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Class: Chemical Reaction
Type: Hand-Held
Category: All 
Application: Search variety of cargoes and people
Standard Features: A kit of three spray cans. Sprays react to different explosives by changing color. Different sprays are used sequentially for identifying different explosives instantly.
General Comments: Simple to operate, less than 1 minute per test, under 2 pounds, no power required, long shelf life.

Safety: No Risk
Operational Standards: N/A
Operating Temperature: 32 to 110 degrees F
Resolution: 20 nanograms
Operating Voltages: N/A
Form Factor: Hand-held aerosol can with paper wipes
Issues: Identifies polynitroaromatics (e.g. TNT, Tetryl), nitrate esters & nitramines (e.g. plastics and Semtex), and inorganic nitrates (e.g. ANFO)


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EXPRAY is a field test kit designed to detect and identify trace levels of explosives and explosive residues. The kits have been extensively used in forensic investigations since 1991, and have been invaluable in their expedition of the apprehension of criminals. In the forensic, and, more recently, environmental capacities in which the kit has been utilized, it has proven to be the perfect combination of quick results (less than one minute per test), sensitivity (nanogram level), reliability, ease of transport (under two pounds), ease of operation (no special training and no power requirements), and inexpensive price (less than $3 per test) to accommodate specific detection needs.


EXPRAY can be used to supply valuable qualitative information during environmental criminal and forensic investigations. Listed below is a sampling of applications:


  • Use to determine if process equipment or a surface has been in contact with explosives

  • Certify scrap for disposal

  • Soil sample screening

  • Prescreen extracts for immunoassay analysis to determine if an explosive is present and if so identify which test (TNT or RDX) should be performed.

  • Supplementary tool for detection of explosive devices or residues

  • Use to screen for the presence of explosive materials in suspicious letters or packages

  • Disclosure of chemicals contained in explosive devices, facilitating linking of previously collected evidence

  • Sweep crime scenes

  • Allows for fast screening of suspects in the field, without interfering with other forensic tests

  • Kit sensitivity allows detection on almost any surface


Through a series of sequential reactions, the Explosives Identification Program distinguishes between 1) polynitroaromatics, 2) nitrate esters and nitramines, and 3) inorganic nitrate compounds. Based on a patented procedure, this aerosol kit identifies these classes of compounds accurately, quickly, and distinctively. Refer to Tables 1 and 2 for a partial list of explosive compounds and mixtures detected.


The collector papers are laminated on one side and covered with a thin layer of glue on the other side to ensure good collection of specimen.


EXPRAY can be used as an investigative aid to distinguish between an explosive and non-explosive material. Through two or three very simple consecutive tests the kit will provide visual evidence of traces of the explosives listed below. The traces can be found on any surface suspected to have been in contact with explosives.

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