Authors:S. Raja, P. Thomas, B. Stuart, J. Guerbois, and C. O’Brien
An accurate means of determining bone age is a goal for forensic scientists. In this study, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA)
has been used to examine pig bone specimens of different post-mortem age. Analysis of bone in both air and nitrogen atmospheres
reveals a decrease in total mass loss as the bones age. Two mass loss steps due to the decomposition of the organic bone components
were observed and show decreasing trends with age for decomposition in an air atmosphere. In a nitrogen atmosphere the decomposition
was observed to be more complex and age dependence of the mass loss for each step was not identified. The TGA data, however,
demonstrates the potential of the technique as a means of estimating post-mortem age of forensic bone specimens.
Authors:Caitlin Ferguson, Martine Duff, Elliot Clark, Glenn Chapman, Jeffrey Leggitt, and Keith Monson
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory is currently exploring needs and protocols for the storage of evidentiary
items contaminated with radioactive material. While a large body of knowledge on the behavior of storage polymers in radiation
fields exists, this knowledge has not been applied to the field of forensics and maintaining evidentiary integrity. The focus
of this research was to evaluate the behavior of several traditional evidentiary containment polymers when exposed to significant
alpha, beta, gamma, neutron and mixed radiation sources. Doses were designed to simulate exposures possible during storage
of materials. Several products were found to be poorly suited for use in this specific application based on standardized mechanical
testing results. Remaining products were determined to warrant further investigation for the storage of radiologically-contaminated
Bone provides an important source of forensic evidence. The storage conditions of bone have been recognised as a factor in
maintaining the integrity of such evidence. Thermogravimetric analysis (TG) has been employed to examine the effects of storage
environments and preparation methods on the structural properties of pig bones. A comparison of oven and freeze drying has
been made to study the effect of storage conditions. A comparison has also been made of ground bone specimens with cut specimens.
Freeze-dried hand ground specimens provided the most consistent results and, thus, this is the recommended method of preparation
of bone specimens for TG analysis.
Authors:Donivan Porterfield, Lav Tandon, Alexander Plionis, David Mercer, Dominic Peterson, and John Auxier
The development of two generations of a one-dimensional gamma mapping system is described. These systems use high-Z shielding,
linear stage, and a high-purity germanium detector. Application to items of forensic interest is described and results for
such items are presented. The presented results show the fission product (137Cs) and activation product (60Co) distributions along one-dimension of an archival item.
The discrimination of specimens of plastics is important in a forensic context as plastic materials are found in a variety of evidence types, such as drug packaging or material remaining at a fire scene [ 1 , 2
A comprehensive radiochemical isolation procedure and data analysis/interpretation method for the nuclear forensic investigation
of Th has been developed. The protocol includes sample dissolution, chemical separation, nuclear counting techniques, consideration
of isotopic parent-daughter equilibria, and data interpretation tactics. Practical application of the technology was demonstrated
by analyses of a questioned specimen confiscated at an illegal drug synthesis laboratory by law enforcement authorities.