The Potential of X-Ray Diffraction in the Analysis of Burned Remains from Forensic Contexts

Giampaolo Piga, Tim J. U. Thompson, Assumpciò Malgosa, Stefano Enzo

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    Abstract

    In view of the difficulties in extracting quantitative information from burned bone, we suggest a new and accurate method of determining the temperature and duration of burning of human remains in forensic contexts. Application of the powder X-ray Diffraction approach to a sample of human bone and teeth allowed their microstructual behaviour, as a function of temperature (200-1000°C) and duration of burning (0, 18, 36 and 60 min), to be predicted. The experimental results from the bones and teeth determined that the growth of hydroxylapatite crystallites is a direct and predictable function of the applied temperature, which follows a non-linear logistic relationship. This will allow the forensic investigator to acquire useful information about the equilibrium temperature brought about by the burning process and to suggest a reasonable duration of fire exposure.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)534-539
    JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
    Volume54
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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