Trace Evidence Analysis

Trace evidence is created when objects contact. Material is often transferred by heat or induced by contact friction. Trace evidence is important in accident investigation, where movement of one part against another will often leave a tell-tale mark. Such analysis is of great use in forensic engineering.

At a crime scene there are often tiny fragments of physical evidence such as hairs, fibers from clothing or carpeting or pieces of glass that can help tell the story of what happened.

These are referred to as trace evidence, and can be transferred when two objects touch or when small particles are disbursed by an action or movement. For example, paint can be transferred from one car to another in a collision or hair can be left on a sweater in a physical assault. This evidence can be used to reconstruct an event or indicate that person or thing was present.Scientists examine the physical, optical and chemical properties of trace evidence and use a variety of tools to find and compare samples, and look for the sources or common origins of each item.The importance of trace evidence in the context of crime scene investigation is sometimes understated, taking a back seat to more individualized evidence such as DNA or fingerprints.

Other, less frequently included items are soil, cosmetics and fire debris. Some laboratories will consider fire accelerants as trace and others will include them in chemistry, even though the same tests are conducted in both laboratories. For the purpose of this series, paint glass fiber, and hair will be included in the discussion.

Forensic expertise and th​e exchange of forensic data is vital to international investigations regional and global wise. With the exception of identical twins, each person’s DNA is unique, which makes DNA sampling useful for solving crimes, identifying victims of disasters, and locating missing persons.Using forensic science methods, the sample is analysed, resulting in a DNA profile that can be compared against other DNA profiles within a database. This creates the opportunity for ‘hits’ – person-to-scene, scene-to-scene or person-to-person matches – where no previous connection was known.

  • Types of Trace Evidences
  • Forensic Engineering
  • DNA Analysis
  • Protection and Analysis of trace evidences

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