Char can originate from virtually any organic material, and as a result, chars can be found in a variety of environments, ranging from microscopic particles of charred wood or plant tissue to larger particles of char resulting from burned dough in a bakery or charred rubber in a factory.  While more advanced charring may destroy all signs of the original material, there are many cases where some recognizable portion of the source material remains.  In these cases, a combination of microscopical and chemical characterization (by vibrational spectroscopy or microchemistry) can provide information about the original material, helping insurance investigations to assign fault or manufacturers to locate the source of the charring.  In cases involving charred documents, it may be possible to identify the original writing, while in cases involving charred clothing, it may be possible to identify or compare it to other fibers.

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