Siegel, Jay A. Department of Chemistry, School of Science, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Last reviewed:September 2019
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- Types of forensic chemical evidence
- Controlled substances and other drugs
- Blood and other body fluids
- Trace evidence
- Pattern evidence
- Theory and purpose of chemical analysis of evidence
- Schemes of chemical analysis
- Evidence must be preserved
- Evidence must be conserved
- Types of forensic chemical tests
- Presumptive chemical tests
- Microcrystal tests
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Part of the field of forensic science, which is defined as the application of the methods of science to legal matters, either civil or criminal. There is no precise definition of forensic chemistry. As practiced in forensic science laboratories today, it goes well beyond the application of the methods of chemistry to the analysis of evidence in civil and criminal cases (see illustration). In some cases, such as the morphological analysis of hair, no chemistry may be done on the evidence even though a forensic chemist may do the analysis. Increasingly, forensic chemical analysis may be performed on types of evidence that are not normally considered to be chemical evidence. These include chemical development of fingerprints and gunshot residue and chemical analysis of inks and papers in cases involving questioned documents. In many of these situations, the analysis is not done by forensic chemists in the chemistry section, but by fingerprint, firearms, or questioned-document examiners. See also: Forensic science
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