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The impact of force, time, and rotation on the transfer of ammonium nitrate: a reductionist approach to understanding evidence dynamics

Amaral, MA; Hatten, E; Gibson, AP; Morgan, RM; (2022) The impact of force, time, and rotation on the transfer of ammonium nitrate: a reductionist approach to understanding evidence dynamics. Science & Justice 10.1016/j.scijus.2021.12.006. (In press).

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Abstract

Empirical studies evaluating the conditions under which the transfer of forensic materials occurs can provide contextual information and offer insight into how that material may have been transferred in a given scenario. Here, a reductionist approach was taken to assess the impact of force, time, and rotation on the transfer of an explosive compound. An Instron ElectroPuls™ E3000 material testing instrument was used to bring porous and non-porous surfaces adulterated with an ammonium nitrate into direct contact with a human skin analogue, controlling for the force of contact, duration of contact, and rotation applied during contact. Quantifiable amounts of ammonium nitrate were recovered from all of the recipient surfaces demonstrating that ammonium nitrate is readily transferred from one surface to another, even when contact occurs for a short duration with a relatively low force. More particulates were transferred from non-porous surfaces onto the human skin analogue, but the amount of ammonium nitrate transferred did not depend upon the force of contact, duration of contact, or the amount of rotation applied. However, when contact occurred and involved rotation, a greater transfer of ammonium nitrate was observed compared to those contacts occurring without rotation being applied. This approach complements more commonly-used holistic experiments that test multiple interacting variables in a realistic setting by isolating these variables, allowing them to be examined individually. This can be utilised to better understand the individual impact that specific variables have on the transfer of trace evidence in relevant crime reconstruction contexts.

Type: Article
Title: The impact of force, time, and rotation on the transfer of ammonium nitrate: a reductionist approach to understanding evidence dynamics
DOI: 10.1016/j.scijus.2021.12.006
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2021.12.006
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 science; Evidence dynamics; Experimental studies; Crime reconstruction; Explosives; Instron ElectroPuls
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 Med Phys and Biomedical Eng
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10141286
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