Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Hot Bullet Casings Can Finger the Criminal,Says UK Scientist

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Duke Junior, Aug 31, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Duke Junior

    Duke Junior member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    685
    Location:
    Cherokee County,North Carolina
    Forensic scientists could soon be pulling fingerprints from fired bullet casings, a technique not unlike one used by Batman to track down the Joker in this year's summer blockbuster.

    Despite advances in DNA technology, fingerprint identification remains an important forensic tool. In the UK, twice as many car thieves are caught by fingerprint identification as by DNA evidence.

    Fingerprinting dust clings to organic compounds like amino acids and urea from skin to reveal prints. But any of those residues on a bullet are likely to be burned away when it is fired, typically reaching temperatures above 200°C.

    Now John Bond, a scientist with the Northamptonshire Police and fellow at the University of Leicester, both in the UK, has discovered that fired bullet casings can reveal fingerprints. And it is the high temperatures they reach that make it possible.
    Etched prints

    When a gunman loads a cartridge into their gun tiny quantities of salty sweat from their fingers are transferred onto it, recording an impression of the fingerprint.

    Firing the gun rapidly heats the casing, vaporising the water in the sweat. "You're left with non-volatile salts," Bond says. Established fingerprinting techniques ignore those residues, but they can reveal prints, he has discovered.

    "At high temperature, those salts are molten and you get a chemical reaction with the metal." Those reactions chemically etch the fingerprint into the surface of the bullet casing when the cartridge is fired – and no amount of washing or wiping will remove it.

    "Even if heat vaporises normal clues, police will be able to prove who handled a particular gun," says Bond.
    Brass rubbing

    However, the technique only works with certain metals, Bond explains. Reactive metals like zinc and aluminium oxidise naturally in the air, becoming coated in a layer of oxide that prevents the fingerprints from corroding the metal.

    "At the other end of the spectrum, gold and platinum are so unreactive that fingerprints don't react with them at all." The best results are found with copper, a key component of brass. "Fortunately most shell cases are made from brass," says Bond.

    Bond says gunmen without sweaty fingers can also be traced from heated bullet casings. "There might not be any salty sweat present, but the fatty sebaceous glands will deposit fats and waxes on the metal," he says.

    Those fatty deposits also record an impression of the prints. When the metal is heated up, its surface becomes oxidised. "But the fatty deposits inhibit that oxidation, so you end up with nice shiny brass where the fingerprint was deposited, and dull brass surrounding it."

    Bond's team has already processed bullets provided by the US and UK police, and the technique could also be crucial in identifying terrorist bombers. The researchers have already talked to the military about using the technique in Afghanistan. "Bombs are likely to be made from dense metals like copper," says Bond. "The science should work in the same way."

    Journal reference: Journal of Forensic Sciences (DOI: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2008.00738.x)


    http://technology.newscientist.com/...l.html?DCMP=ILC-hmts&nsref=news9_head_dn14625
     
  2. Nolo

    Nolo Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    2,624
    Location:
    Galveston, TX
    Okay, so now the UK is taking it's cues from Batman!?
    I mean, I know it was a good movie, but geez...
    I seriously don't know what to think of this.
    Against average criminals, it would probably be a good thing.
    Against crime bosses... either useless or worse.
    At least it doesn't cost us like microstamping...
     
  3. Duke Junior

    Duke Junior member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    685
    Location:
    Cherokee County,North Carolina
    I enjoyed that part too,Nolo!That's why why I threw out this article.
    Is this real or is this more BS?Should I add a ? mark on the headline?:D
     
  4. Marcus84

    Marcus84 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    Messages:
    205
    Why would they test this? There are no guns in the UK.
     
  5. Aaryq

    Aaryq Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,039
    Location:
    ND Resident, Stationed out of CA, Moving to NC
    1. All of you brassfetchers out there may be doomed.
    2. In a recent press release, the GLC (Global League of Criminals) as announced that they have officially switched to Wolf, Silver Bear, and Brown Bear ammunition.
     
  6. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    18,550
    Location:
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    And all this high-dollar, high-tech mumbo-jumbo can be nullified by simply using a revolver or any other non-autoloading weapon.
     
  7. sacp81170a

    sacp81170a Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    Messages:
    2,410
    Location:
    Farmington, AR
    Or wearing disposable rubber gloves when handling weapon and ammo, or wiping prints off ammo before loading....
     
  8. RP88

    RP88 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,704
    load it with gloves, glue a plastic bag over the port, revolver, steel-case, shotgun shell...

    wow, thought of those without any effort at all
     
  9. TallPine

    TallPine Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    7,734
    Location:
    somewhere in the middle of Montana
    Heck, just use a cap & ball pistol: no casings at all :D
     
  10. Duke Junior

    Duke Junior member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    685
    Location:
    Cherokee County,North Carolina
    And none of you are "prestigious" UK scientists making your commonsense findings even more impressive!:D
     
  11. sm

    sm member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    28,389
    Location:
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    John Bond?
    Batman?
    (you have to be kidding me...)

    Okay, I"ll run what I brung.


    Single shot shotgun


    Holy smokes Bond! Wham! "Pow!" Zonkeroo!, the boy done shook your Martini , and got an autograph from the Werewolf of London!


    And his hair was perfect...

    *snicker*
     
  12. Wes Janson

    Wes Janson Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,962
    Wonder if it works with aluminum-cased or nickel-plated ammunition?
     
  13. highorder

    highorder Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,350
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    :neener:This sort of thing will make them have to outlaw, confiscate, and destroy all revolvers!

    Glocks for everyone, and they all have to go the Sheriff first for ballistic mumbo-jumbo; $87 for prints, etc...:barf:
     
  14. ArmyCop119

    ArmyCop119 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    24
    This sort of thing is nothing new.

    Anyone that's been through basic training can tell you- there's nothing fingerprints like better than polished brass.

    Glad Batman could teach them something.
     
  15. retgarr

    retgarr Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Messages:
    322
    Not unlike batman? Really? Once again journos proving how little they know about the subject they are writing on. In the batman movie they got the thumbprint from the bullet lodged in brick. I don't think the author knows that the casing stays behind...
     
  16. Threeband

    Threeband Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Maryland
    I've heard that it's common practice among some criminal types to wipe the prints off their cartridges as they load up.

    Still, it's amazing how careless, sloppy, stupid so many criminals are. It's been known for over a century that wearing gloves prevents leaving fingerprints, yet most crimes are committed with ungloved hands.

    For a lot of members of that vast under-stratum of society, crime is less an isolated event, and more a part of daily life. They seem to just drift along thoughtlessly, drinking, fighting, stealing, and bad things just somehow happen to them. They seem to lack an awareness that every action they take reflects a choice, and has consequences.

    The jails are full of people who can't quite seem to figure out why they're there.

    Anyway, these types won't wear gloves, or wipe their prints, or police their brass.
     
  17. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Messages:
    2,347
    Location:
    lynn,ma
    Gold and platinum shell casings???? If I had that kind of money I wouldn't have to steal for a living
     
  18. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2006
    Messages:
    5,503
    Location:
    Deep in the valley
    Removed non-high road comment.
     
  19. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    18,719
    Location:
    Deep in the Ozarks
    What's the difference between a "bullet casing" and a cartridge case?:p
     
  20. Lashlarue

    Lashlarue member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Messages:
    373
    Latex gloves cost pennies and if you are not on file, like most nowadays.This high tech CSI BS is just that....
     
  21. AndyC

    AndyC Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Messages:
    2,581
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    I read it as meaning that it's the reporter comparing the technique to Batman, not the scientist getting his idea from Batman.
     
  22. AndyC

    AndyC Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Messages:
    2,581
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    It's the reporter comparing it to Batman, not the scientist getting his idea from Batman.

    Then again, life imitates art more than we might imagine.
     
  23. sm

    sm member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    28,389
    Location:
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears

    Bullet casing
    allows one to go first going through the food court downstairs in the Scientific Building, and one's cronies lets you have the good seat at the table so you can see out the window in the dining area.

    *i-say-dear-chap*
     
  24. Crunker1337

    Crunker1337 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,168
    There are numerous ways around this that any fool can think of in a second.
    Has ballistics tracing EVER been used to put a criminal behind bars?
     
  25. sacp81170a

    sacp81170a Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    Messages:
    2,410
    Location:
    Farmington, AR
    Only amateurs, more than likely. In order to place someone at a crime scene you have to have several elements, and it's not as easy as one would expect. Ballistic evidence alone would be pretty shaky without a whole bunch of other stuff to support it, CSI notwithstanding.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page