Volume 50, Issue 4 (July 2005)
The Effect of Exposure to the Elements on the Forensic Characterization by Infrared Spectroscopy of Poly(ethylene terephthalate) Fibers
Validation of a recently proposed differentiation method for single poly (ethylene terephthalate) (PET) fibers, based on integration of IR absorption bands, is presented. IR microscopy in the transmission mode, differential scanning calorimetry and optical microscopy were employed. The reliability of the technique has been extended to the cases in which the fibers being compared have experienced long exposure to the elements, as may happen if these items are recovered from open-air crime scenes. The effect of immersion in water and irradiation by the sun for a three-month period have been considered. The fibers remained morphologically and structurally unaltered. The significance of comparisons between fibers kept in different environments is thus enhanced, because the detrimental effect of the elements can be ruled out. This further validation of the proposed technique contributes to render the data presented by the forensic scientist less vulnerable to context effect and bias.