ASTEE Article features characterization of Microtrace Fiber Collection
Anne E. Kisler-Rao of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Division of Forensic Sciences published a study January 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Society of Trace Evidence Examiners comparing the properties of nylon, polyester, and olefin fibers by FTIR and melting point analysis. This fibers characterized in this work were obtained from the Microtrace Forensic Fiber Reference Collection.
Comparison of Nylon, Polyester, and Olefin Fibers Using FTIR and Melting Point Analysis
by Anne E. Kisler-Rao, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Division of Forensic Sciences
The primary goal of this study was to investigate whether Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) or melting point analysis provides higher discrimination of fibers when used for comparative purposes. Nylon, Polyester, and Olefin fibers from a reference collection were compared using both FTIR and melting point analysis and determinations were made as to which fibers within each generic class could be distinguished from one another using both techniques. Within each generic class, some fiber pairs were found to be distinguishable from each other using FTIR and not melting point and others using melting point and not FTIR. As these techniques are typically the last step in an analytical procedure, fibers found to be distinguishable by one technique and not the other were examined microscopically to determine if these fibers would have been distinguished from one another before reaching that point of the examination. The majority of fibers distinguishable by FTIR and not melting point or vice versa were found to be readily distinguishable using microscopy, with only one pair
of colorless fibers possessing only minor differences in optical properties. This shows that while microscopy is typically the most useful technique for comparative analysis, it may be important to consider using both techniques of FTIR and melting point for comparative purposes as well.
Citation: Kisler-Rao, A.E., (2015) Comparison of Nylon, Polyester, and Olefin Fibers Using FTIR and Melting Point Analysis. Journal of the American Society of Trace Evidence Examiners (JASTEE) v6(1) 3-20.
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