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The Effect of Soft Tissue on Temperature Estimation from Burnt Bone Using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy

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This study investigated the effect of soft tissue and different exposure times on the prediction of burning temperatures of bone when using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Ovis aries rib bones were burnt at different temperatures and for varying time intervals. Results of a linear regression analysis indicated that burn temperatures can be predicted with a standard error of ±70°C from defleshed bone spectra. Exposure time does not have a significant impact on prediction accuracy. The presence of soft tissue has a significant impact on heat‐induced changes of the bone matrix in low (<300°C) as well as high temperatures (>800°C), slowing down combustion in the former and accelerating it in the latter (p < 0.05). At medium temperatures, no significant difference was noted. These results provide forensic investigators a new perspective with which to interpret the results of crystallinity measures derived from burnt bone.
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Keywords: FTIR; burnt bone; crystallinity index; forensic; forensic anthropology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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