Chapter 3. SiO2
Doctor Pitre Kamanski, Ph.D with specialties in micro-cellular anatomy examined the mounted tissue that the forensic pathologist had performed a stained mounting on the slide.
The slow scan of the tissue showed a shredding as if it had been hit with a meat tenderizer.
This was more than just high-velocity trauma from shock waves of an explosive, the tissue looked as if the victim’s body was dragged through a beach. There were micron-sized and larger objects in between the cells, in the cells and in the blood vessels that showed signs of severe microscopic hemorrhage. The image looked familiar but strange at the same time.
Doctor Kamanski made his notes on more and more of the various sized objects, making phone calls and requesting a mass-spec on the microscopic anomaly points.
An hour later, James Wilds returned his call. A radiologist of repute, his knowledge of chemistry was encyclopedic
‟Okay, what you asked me to scan on the other samples, I have scanned twelve of those available. What you have a question about it silicon dioxide, no other contaminants on eight of the twelve samples. Four samples show a carbon-nitrogen and chloride trace in low levels.” Jim said as he read off of a display. ‟Not enough to say a significant propellant charge, but could have been a kicker for the explosion. Traces of silver and copper in the carbon in specific ratios, there is one spike on a sample, just one sample, of potassium perchlorate. Silver carbide and copper acetyide in measurements of parts per million. Nearly complete combustion. The ratios remained consistent on rescan and it suggests that these are the initiators to detonation that killed the victims.”
‟Is it in high enough concentrations to create the explosive event that shredded the flesh? And where did this silicon dioxide come from? Sand? Are you sure it was silicon dioxide only?”
‟Yes, sand, ultra fine, it showed pure on the graph. Trace other elements are detectable. I will recheck the values if you like, but we ran the samples three times each. I’ll focus on the fine grains and see what we can bring to light.”
Thanking Jim for his work, Pitre pressed the ‟end call” button and bit his lip while he looked at the paper.
Taking a deep breath, he looked at the reports again. Small to ultra-small grains of silicon dioxide.
Pitre sat back with his arms crossed as he looked at the computer screen with the results and sighed.
What were the results telling them? He understood the language of reports better than anyone in the department, second to maybe Robert Burns, but what he was seeing did not tell him any patterns that he recognized.
Glass, perhaps that had been pulverized in the explosion?
No, even with the current super-tough glass used in most devices these days had more than trace elements of potassium and aluminum in the chemical mix and would have shown up.
There was no aluminum trace showing, potassium showed outside of the range for toughened glass and a specific combination of oxidizer of a perchorate was going to be the key.
What was he reading?