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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X-Ray Diffraction
Temperature
Bone and Bones
Tooth
Durapatite
Powders
Research Personnel
Growth

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Piga, Giampaolo ; Thompson, Tim J. U. ; Malgosa, Assumpciò ; Enzo, Stefano. / The Potential of X-Ray Diffraction in the Analysis of Burned Remains from Forensic Contexts. In: Journal of Forensic Sciences. 2009 ; Vol. 54, No. 3. pp. 534-539.
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The Potential of X-Ray Diffraction in the Analysis of Burned Remains from Forensic Contexts. / Piga, Giampaolo; Thompson, Tim J. U.; Malgosa, Assumpciò; Enzo, Stefano.

In: Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 54, No. 3, 2009, p. 534-539.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AU - Malgosa, Assumpciò

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AB - 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.

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