Bartick, E. and Palenik, S. (2004) Forensic Analysis. Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Technology DOI: 10.1002/0471440264.pst140.
Published on: 3/15/2004
This article is as an introduction to forensic applications of polymer analysis. The ubiquity of polymeric materials in our environment results in these items frequently being found at crime scenes and as the subject of civil cases and subsequently considered as evidentially important. This hybrid subject of forensic science, concerning both legal and scientific evaluation of polymeric materials, is introduced to combine both aspects. The article provides a brief introduction to how evidence is viewed from a legal perspective and an overview of analytical methods used in the forensic examination of evidence. Since microscopy and spectroscopy contribute the greatest amount of information in the least amount of time, they are emphasized in this work. Examples of casework are provided to illustrate the forensic process. Illustrations of fiber and paint analysis are provided to demonstrate the forensic approach of these two important categories of polymers that frequently serve as evidence in casework.