Volume 28, Issue 4 (October 1983)
The Role of Fibers in Forensic Science Examinations
The purpose of this article is to draw attention to the potential of fiber evidence, and present some of the reasons why this potential appears to be currently underutilized. The author has tried to summarize state-of-the-art examination of fibers to promote interest, encourage, and assist those less experienced in this specialized field. Fibers are the most frequently encountered type of trace evidence. In comparison with other types of forensic science examinations the number of articles on fibers appearing in the relevant journals is minimal. It is however increasing, showing an awakening interest in the subject that has been given a boost by the findings in the Atlanta murders case which appears to be the first occasion of fibers playing a major part in obtaining a conviction in a case of such importance in the United States. This article presents an overview of the subject of fiber examination ranging from the collection of evidence and some of its attendant pitfalls, through basic and more advanced laboratory techniques past and present, to assessing the value of fiber evidence and commenting on how this may be improved in the future.