Date of Award

Fall 12-2014

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Criminal Justice


Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security

Committee Chair

Kuppareddi Balamurugan

Committee Chair Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 2

Dean Bertram

Committee Member 2 Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 3

Maxwell Bonner

Committee Member 3 Department

Criminal Justice


Millions of dollars in destruction in the past decade have resulted from the use of Chinese drywall in homes. There are also potential health hazards related to this corrosive material. As such, it is important to find a way to identify Chinese drywall. Drywall can be tested for certain markers, such as strontium, sulfur, and carbonates to identify it as corrosive Chinese drywall. The laboratory preparation and analysis should be efficient and cost effective. The methods previously used, such as an X-ray fluorescence gun have had issues with getting a proper reading due to the layers of other materials found on the drywall, and instruments such as atomic absorption can only test for one metal at a time.

This investigation is beneficial because it uses a novel technique. This experiment focused on developing a method for the ICP-AES, inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy, which could qualitatively identify the presence of sulfide compounds in drywall. The drywall samples were set up in a natural environment, and the presence of sulfide compounds were tested for with copper coupons. The oxidized copper was then put into an acidic solution, and real time analysis was used to immediately analyze the volatilized sulfide compounds. All of the Chinese drywall samples tested positive for sulfur. This means that this type of analysis can be used to show that drywall containing corrosive sulfide compounds can be positively identified as Chinese drywall.