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Fiber Addenda, Trace Evidence Quality Assurance Guidelines (Forensic Science Communications, January 2000)


January 2000 - Volume 2 - Number 1

Trace Evidence Quality Assurance Guidelines (January 1999 Revision)

Fiber Addenda
FA2.3.2.3 and FA2.3.3.3

Successful completion of the following undergraduate or graduate courses:

1. One year (or equivalent) general chemistry
with laboratory work;

2. One year (or equivalent) organic chemistry
with laboratory work; and

3. General biology with laboratory work.

If the following courses are not available at the graduate or undergraduate level, then structured course work is required:

4. Analytical/Instrumental Analysis;

5. Basic Microscopy and Polarized Light Microscopy; and

6. Fiber Microscopy.

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Fiber Addendum

The training period will be a minimum of 12 months, full time, for the inexperienced trainee examiner with no prior forensic experience. (The allotted time is to include all those specifications under Sections, and These sections refer to casework observation, supervised casework, proficiency test[s], examinations, and moot courts.)

Suggested topics for the time line follow:

Introduction to Fibers

A. Fiber History, Usage, and Manufacturing

B. Fiber Classification

C. Fiber and Textile Technology and Terminology

D. Chemistry and Manufacturing Processes (Polymers
and Dyes)

E. Identification Versus Comparison

F. Overview of Forensic Fiber Examinations

G. Transfer and Persistence of Fibers

H. Associated Examinations

Collection and Preservation

A. Fiber Search and Recovery

B. Sample Handling

C. Contamination

D. Packaging

E. Documentation

Sample Preparation Methods

Identification of Vegetable Fibers

A. Botanical Classification

B. Morphology and Anatomy

C. Methods of Identification

Identification of Animal Fibers

A. Zoological Classification

B. Morphology and Anatomy

C. Methods of Identification

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Identification of Inorganic Fibers

A. Classification

B. Methods of Identification

Identification of Manufactured Fibers

A. Generic Classification

B. Microscopic Characterization

1. Stereomicroscopy

2. Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM)

3. Infrared Microspectroscopy

C. Solubility

D. Instrumental Methods

Fiber Comparisons

A. Microscopic Examinations

1. Comparison Microscopy

2. Fluorescence Microscopy

B. Color Analysis

1. Dye Classification

2. Thin-Layer Chromatography

3. Microspectrophotometry

C. Instrumental Methods

Instrumental Methods

A. Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) or FT-IR with Microscope

B. Microspectrophotometry (UV-VIS/VIS)

C. Thermal Microscopy

D. Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography

E. Scanning Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS)

F. Other Techniques


A. Construction and Composition

B. Physical Match

C. Examination of Damage

D. Impressions

Ropes and Cordage

A. Construction and Composition

B. Physical Match

C. Knots

Interpretation and Presentation

A. Factors Affecting Evidence Interpretation

B. Significance of Fiber Evidence

C. Report Writing

D. Testimony

Training Evaluation

A. Written and Oral Examinations

B. Competency Testing

C. Supervised Casework

D. Moot Court

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