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Forensic Science Fact Files

Fingerprints

Dusting with carbon powder


Apparatus: spatula sheet of newspaper carbon powder soft brush samples of: glossy paper, filter paper, black plastic, white plastic, cloth You are going to dust for your own fingerprints using carbon powder A. B. C. D. Lay a sheet of newspaper on the bench Put one of the samples on the newspaper. Press your finger on it to make a fingerprint. Sprinkle a small amount of carbon powder onto the sample. Gently brush off the carbon powder. Record the appearance of the fingerprint in your table as accurately as possible*. Try to note the number of points of similarity with your recorded prints. Repeat steps B to D with the other samples. tracing paper

Q1 Complete this table using your findings. Material Glossy paper Filter paper Black Plastic Print

White Plastic

Cloth

Points of similarity Comments

Answer each of the following questions in full. Q2. On which surfaces were the prints clear. Q3. Why wouldn't you get a clear print from a blanket? Q4. Why is it difficult to get a clear print from filter paper? Q5. On what surface would the police use carbon powder? Q6. Compare your results to the class. Do some people leave better prints than others? Why might this be so?
* In recording the print you may wish to trace the print onto tracing paper and stick that onto the table or fix the actual material onto the table, whichever you find easier.
National Institute of Forensic Science 10 July 2001

Forensic Science Fact Files

Fingerprints

Dusting with a white powder


Apparatus: spatula sheet of newspaper white powder (talc) soft brush samples of: glossy paper, filter paper, black plastic, white plastic, cloth You are going to dust for your own fingerprints using white powder A. B. C. D. Lay a sheet of newspaper on the bench Put one of the samples on the newspaper. Press your finger on it to make a fingerprint. Sprinkle a small amount of talcum powder onto the sample. Gently brush off the carbon powder. Record the appearance of the fingerprint in your table as accurately as possible*. Try to note the number of points of similarity with your recorded prints. Repeat steps B to D with the other samples. tracing paper*

Q1 Complete this table using your findings. Material Print Glossy paper Filter paper Black Plastic White Plastic Cloth

Points of similarity Comments

Q1. On which surfaces were the prints clear? Q2. On what kind of surfaces would the police use white powder? Q3. Why could salt and sugar not be used as the white powder? Q4. Name any other substance that you could use to show up a fingerprint by dusting. Research Questions; 1. Do identical twins have the same fingerprints? 2. Name three substances contained in sweat.
* In recording the print you may wish to trace the print onto tracing paper and stick that onto the table or fix the actual material onto the table, whichever you find easier.
National Institute of Forensic Science 10 July 2001