(Received 17 August 1999; accepted 6 December 1999)
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The polyvinyl-alcohol collection method (PVAL) is used in forensic practice to gather topographical information about gunshot residues (GSR) from the hands to decide if the subject has made use of firearms. The results allow a distinction between suicide and homicide. The only inconvenience of PVAL was that the procedure took about 60 min because three layers of liquid PVAL had to be applied and dried. Therefore, the collection method was only applied to corpses. The improved and accelerated PVAL 2.0 uses a sandwich technique. Cotton gauze for stabilization is moistened with a 10% PVAL solution. A solid film of PVAL (Solublon®) is spread on the cotton mesh. The gauze is then modeled to the hand and dried with a hair dryer. After removing the cotton gauze, the traces are embedded in the water-soluble PVAL. The procedure does not take more than 15 min. The results demonstrate the qualities and advantages of PVAL: topographical distribution of GSR, highest gain of GSR, sampling of all other traces like blood, backspatter etc., and humidity does not reduce the gain. In addition, with the new PVAL 2.0 dislocation of GSR or contamination are excluded. PVAL 2.0 can also be applied on live suspects.
Institute of Forensic Medicine, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf,
Laboratory of Experimental Ballistics, Hürth,
Stock #: JFS14884J