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Assessment of PECA reagent on the development of fingerprints on fabrics

Hughes, Alexandra (2020) Assessment of PECA reagent on the development of fingerprints on fabrics. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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Fingerprint identification is invaluable in forensic investigations. Whether the context be a burglary, an assault, or a homicide, fingerprints can be the easiest, most efficient, and quickest way to discern an identify or link an identity to a crime scene or object. Research so far shows many ways to develop a fingerprint on non-porous surfaces found at crime scenes such as windows, benches, handles and weapons using both chemical and physical methods. However, this leaves a gap in the literature on effective methods to develop fingerprints on porous surfaces such as fabrics. In this study, cyanoacrylate fuming using two different reagents was used to test their efficacy on developing fingerprints on fabrics of natural and synthetic origin. The two reagents used were superglue and PECA. Standardised protocols for the two methods were optimised before being used on 18 different fabric types. In the superglue trials, 4 fabrics showed fingerprint development in varying stages of success. In the PECA trials, 1 fabric showed very limited development. These results lead to three conclusions. The first conclusion being that yarn characteristics are vital in the success or failure of fingerprint development on fabrics when using superglue as a reagent. The second conclusion being that a thread count over 70 per cm2 is conducive with fingerprint development using cyanoacrylate fuming. While the third conclusion is that PECA is not a suitable reagent for cyanoacrylate fuming of fabrics.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Supervisor(s): Speers, James and Cottrill, E.
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