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FORENSIC CHEMISTRY INTRODUCTION Over the past century forensic chemistry has become an essential part of almost every criminal investigation A forensic chemist is a scientist who analyses physical evidence as found on a victim or at the scene of a crime These scientists work in the field of criminalistics which deals with analysis comparison identification and interpretation of physical evidence to prove the connections to or existence of a crime Evidence is examined right down to the molecular level and the compositions of samples are calculated Criminalists provide information to investigators attorneys judges or juries to help determine the innocence or guilt of a suspect Forensic chemical analysis shows a development from the mere quotation of a concentration value to an expert opinion which helps to explain manifold circumstances of the case under consideration Vycudilik 1999 Forensic chemists may perform one or more of the following tasks Identify illicit drugs Analyse drugs and poisons in human tissue and body fluids including blood alcohol determinations Examine and compare materials such as fibres paints cosmetics oils petrol plastics metals soils and gunshot residues Examine items of human and animal biological material to be compared with victims and suspects using DNA profiling Conduct botanical identification of plant materials at trace levels and whole-plant identifications There are many areas in forensic chemistry but this report focuses on three main areas which are of the greatest relevance to chemistry They are Trace Analysis Toxicology and Serology The analytical techniques involved in forensic analysis are shown in the flowchart attached to Appendix 1 of this report TRACE ANALYSIS The trace analysis applications in forensic chemistry include the analysis of many substances such as gunshot and primer residue paint hair and fibres These substance range from being microscopic to macroscopic in size Paint Analysis Paint analysis is especially useful in hit-and-run cases where paint is usually left at the scene of
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