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A New Method for the Removal and Analysis of Small Particles Adhering to Carpet Fiber Surfaces,,

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Fibers are a commonly encountered evidence type and fiber comparisons are routinely conducted. When the characteristics of questioned and known fibers correspond, the probative value is limited because the characteristics compared are determined by their manufacture. It would be valuable to test the hypothesis that questioned fibers originated from a specific carpet. One means of testing this is to analyze fine particles on the fibers. A procedure was developed for removing adhering particles from fibers and preparing them for scanning electron microscopy/ energy dispersive X‐ray spectrometry (SEM/EDS) analysis. The efficacy of several fluids (acetone, ethanol, hexanes, aqueous ethanol, aqueous sodium hexametaphosphate) and agitation methods (sonication and vortexing) for removing particles from fibers was evaluated. The most effective method evaluated was sonication in ethanol for 10┬ámin. The recovered particles were filtered onto a polycarbonate filter and analyzed by automated SEM/EDS analysis to generate data on the particle assemblage. This method makes possible future research to test the within‐item and between‐item variability of particle assemblages on fibers.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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