Determining the effects of routine fingermark detection techniques on the subsequent recovery and analysis of explosive residues on various substrates

Sam King, Sarah Benson, Tamsin KELLY, Chris LENNARD

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An offender who has recently handled bulk explosives would be expected to deposit latent fingermarks that are contaminated with explosive residues. However, fingermark detection techniques need to be applied in order for these fingermarks to be detected and recorded. Little information is available in terms of how routine fingermark detection methods impact on the subsequent recovery and analysis of any explosive residues that may be present. If an identifiable fingermark is obtained and that fingermark is found to be contaminated with a particular explosive then that may be crucial evidence in a criminal investigation (including acts of terrorism involving improvised explosive devices).

The principal aims of this project were to investigate: (i) the typical quantities of explosive material deposited in fingermarks by someone who has recently handled bulk explosives; and (ii) the effects of routine fingermark detection methods on the subsequent recovery and analysis of explosive residues in such fingermarks. Four common substrates were studied: paper, glass, plastic (polyethylene plastic bags), and metal (aluminium foil). The target explosive compounds were 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), and hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX), as well as chlorate and nitrate ions. Recommendations are provided in terms of the application of fingermark detection methods on surfaces that may contain explosive residues
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-264
Number of pages8
JournalForensic Science International
Volume233
Issue number1-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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