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Prediction and Preliminary Standardization of Fire Debris Constituents with the Advanced Distillation Curve Method

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 56 Issue: S1 Dated: January 2011 Pages: S192-S202
Thomas J. Bruno, Ph.D.; Tara M. Lovestead, Ph.D.; Marcia L. Huber, Ph.D.
Date Published
January 2011
11 pages
The recent National Academy of Sciences report on forensic sciences states that the study of fire patterns and debris in arson fires is in need of additional work and eventual standardization. The authors discuss a recently introduced method that can provide predicted evaporation patterns for ignitable liquids as a function of temperature.
The method is a complex fluid analysis protocol, the advanced distillation curve approach, featuring a composition explicit data channel for each distillate fraction (for qualitative, quantitative, and trace analysis), low uncertainty temperature measurements that are thermodynamic state points that can be modeled with an equation of state, consistency with a century of historical data, and an assessment of the energy content of each distillate fraction. The authors discuss the application of the method to kerosenes and gasolines and outline how expansion of the scope of fluids to other ignitable liquids can benefit the criminalist in the analysis of fire debris for arson. (Published Abstract)


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