(Received 6 December 1978; accepted 13 June 1979)
Published Online: 1980
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An experimental study to determine the effect of collection delay and combustion time on successful detection of the aceelerant gasoline was made with samples of wood, carpet with padding, and soil. The maximum time allowed for collection and analysis of samples in which a positive result could be obtained was called the limit of detectability. This limit was found for each sample under study by using various combustion times to 20 min and collection delays to 162 h after the fire was extinguished. The limit of detectability decreased in a regular manner with an increase in combustion time and delay in collection. The relative values for the limit of detectability for different surfaces could prove to be a valid and valuable criterion in the selection and collection of the proper physical evidence at fire scene examinations.
Director, Burlington County Forensic Science Laboratory, Mt. Holly, N.J.
Chemistry and forensic science teacher, Cherry Hill High School East, Cherry Hill, N.J.
Associate professor of criminalistics, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, N.Y.
Stock #: JFS10952J