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Persistence of transferred fragrance on fabrics for forensic reconstruction applications

Gherghel, S; Morgan, RM; Arrebola-Liébanas, JF; Blackman, CS; Garrido-Frenich, A; Parkin, IP; (2020) Persistence of transferred fragrance on fabrics for forensic reconstruction applications. Science & Justice , 60 (1) pp. 53-62. 10.1016/j.scijus.2019.09.002. Green open access

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Abstract

It has recently been established that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) successfully transfer between clothing even with a short contact of 10 s, highlighting the potential to use VOCs in forensic reconstruction scenarios, such as sexual assault cases. The mid and low volatility compounds transferred in greater amounts than high volatility compounds. This study presents empirical data addressing the persistence of transferred VOCs on clothing for the first time. A series of experiments were carried out to determine the persistence of VOCs on clothing for time periods of up 4 weeks, on natural and synthetic fibres, and at three different environmental temperatures. The data indicate that the highest VOC amounts are generally obtained for shorter persistence times of up to 1 d. Whilst high volatility compounds were not recovered in sufficient amounts to allow quantification, the four other transferred VOCs were successfully quantified for persistence times of up to 4 weeks. The persistence for mid-volatility compounds follows decay curve trends in line with those previously obtained for fibres, glass and pollen. When comparing the persistence of VOCs on a natural and a synthetic fibre, for a persistence time of 1 h, the transferred VOCs were retained on a natural fibre in higher amounts than on a synthetic fibre. However, for longer persistence times the concentration of VOCs was similar between the two fabrics. Lastly, lower environmental temperatures resulted in higher recoveries for most VOCs, especially for short persistence times. These findings demonstrate that optimal recovery of VOCs from clothing occurs when the fabric is kept at cooler temperatures and analysed soon after the fragrance transfer occurred, although VOC recovery was possible at higher temperatures and after longer persistence times. Given the transfer and persistence characteristics of VOCs from fragrance, there is potential for fragrance to be used as a form of trace in forensic reconstruction approaches.

Type: Article
Title: Persistence of transferred fragrance on fabrics for forensic reconstruction applications
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.scijus.2019.09.002
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2019.09.002
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Forensic reconstruction, Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)Trace evidence, Experimental studies, Persistence
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Chemistry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10082867
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