(Received 22 October 1987; accepted 7 December 1987)
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Polyurethane, an increasingly popular material in the manufacture of shoe outsoles, contains air bubbles which are visible on the surface of the outsole and which may become part of a footwear impression. How to weigh the significance of each air bubble when conducting an examination of these footwear impressions is discussed. The most common methods of manufacture of polyurethane outsoles and how each of these methods affect the resulting air bubble pattern are explained. A summary of the chemical, mechanical, and physical variables influencing the position and contour of these trapped air bubbles is given. These characteristics, alone or in conjunction with the traditional wear patterns and accidental characteristics acquired during the use of the shoe, can help the examiner form a stronger opinion toward the identification of the footwear.
Criminalist, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles, CA
Supervisory special agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation, F.B.I. Headquarters, Washington, DC
Stock #: JFS12552J