In the UK forensic animations are becoming an increasingly important visual aid in courtroom situations,where complex data relating to a sequence of events is being visualized before a general public who may have little or no understanding of established forensic procedure or methodology. This paper will introduce and discuss a spectrum of new technologies that use new developments in Computer Graphics (CG) and Virtual Reality (VR) for a range of incident investigation and presentation scenarios.
The detection of adulteration of fuels and its use in criminal scenes like arson has a high interest in forensic investigations. In thiswork, a method based on gas chromatography (GC) and neural networks (NN) has been developed and applied to the identification and discrimination of brands of fuels such as gasoline and diesel without the necessity to determine the composition of the samples.The study included five main brands of fuels from Spain, collected from fifteen different local petrol stations. The methodology allowed the identification of the gasoline and diesel brands with a high accuracy close to 100%, without any false positives or false negatives. A success rate of three blind samples was obtained as 73.3%, 80%, and 100%, respectively. The results obtained demonstrate the potential of this methodology to help in resolving criminal situations.
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Free-burning experimental fires were conducted in a wind tunnel to explore the role of ignition type and thus fire spread mode on the resulting emissions profile from combustion of fine (< 6 mm in diameter) Eucalyptus litter fuels. Fires were burnt spreading with the wind (heading fire), perpendicular to the wind (flanking fire) and against the wind (backing fire). Greenhouse gas compounds (i.e. CO2, CH4 and N2O) and CO were quantified using off-axis integratedcavity-output spectroscopy. Emissions factors calculated using a carbon mass balance technique (along with statistical testing) showed that most of the carbon was emitted as CO2, with heading fires emitting 17 % more CO2 than flanking and 9.5 % more CO2 than backing fires, and about twice as much CO as flanking and backing fires. Heading fires had less than half as much carbon remaining in combustion residues. Statistically significant differences in CH4 and N2O emissions factors were not found with respect to fire spread mode. Emissions factors calculated per unit of dry fuel consumed showed that combustion phase (i.e. flaming or smouldering) had a statistically significant impact, with CO and N2O emissions increasing during smouldering combustion and CO2 emissions decreasing. Findings on the equivalence of different emissions factor reporting methods are discussed along with the impact of our results for emissions accounting and potential sampling biases associated with our work. The primary implication of this study is that prescribed fire practices could be modified to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from forests by judicial use of ignition methods to induce flanking and backing fires over heading fires.
This report describes new full-scale compartment fire experiments, which include localmeasurements of temperature, heat flux and species composition, and global measurements ofheat release rate and mass burning rate. The measurements are unique to the compartment fireliterature. By design, the experiments provided a comprehensive and quantitative assessment ofmajor and minor carbonaceous gaseous species and soot at two locations in the upper layer offire in a full scale ISO 9705 room .
Fire protection engineers, fire researchers, regulatory authorities, fire service and lawenforcement personnel use fire models (such as the NIST Fire Dynamics Simulator, FDS) fordesign and analysis of fire safety features in buildings and for post-fire reconstruction andforensic applications. Fire field models have historically showed limited ability to accuratelyand reliably predict the thermal conditions and chemical species in underventilated compartmentfires. Formal validation efforts have shown that for well ventilated compartment fires, with theexception perhaps of soot, field models do quite well in predicting temperature and species whenexperimental uncertainty is accounted for. Inaccurate predictions of incomplete burning and sootlevels impact calculations of radiative heat transfer, burning rates, and estimates of humantenability. High-quality (relatively low, quantified uncertainty) measurements of fire gasspecies, temperature, and soot from the interior of underventilated compartment fires are neededto guide the development and validation of improved fire field models.
From Out of the Abyss...
This week’s article from the past is titled Incendiary Fires Can Be Spotted and was written by Benjamin Horton, CPCU, who was President of the National Adjuster Traing School in Louisville, Kentucky.. It is taken from the Decembe 1968 Vol. XVI No.5 issue.
Incendiary Fires Can Be Spotted
The open kitchen design in small residential units where fire load density and occupant load are very high introduces additional fire risk. One big concern is that whether flash-over can occur which may trigger a big post flashover fire, resulting in severe casualties and big property damage. It is important to understand and predict the critical conditions for flashover in this kind of units. Based on a two-layer zone model, the probability of flashover is investigated by a nonlinear dynamical model. The temperature of the smoke layer is taken as the only state variable and the evolution equation is developed in the form of a simplified energy balance equation for the hot smoke layer. Flashover is considered to occur at bifurcation points. Then the influence of the floor dimensions and the radiation feedback coefficient on flashover conditions is examined. When the dimensions of the floor vary, the resulting changes in internal surface area or size of floor area both have effect on the flashover conditions. When the radiation feedback coefficient is of small value, there is no possibility of flashover. With the increase of the radiation feedback coefficient, at first it significantly affects the conditions for flashover and then moderately when it reaches a larger value. It is proved that the flashover phenomenon can be demonstrated well by nonlinear dynamical system and it helps to understand the effect of various control parameters.
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The Central Valley Arson Investigators association continued the tradition of providing outstanding training at their annual Advanced Explosive Recognition class. The training was held once again at the Tulare International Agri-Center grounds. This year’s topic was the history of the American criminal bombings. Guest speaker Ed Nordskog, LA Sheriff’s Department, lead the class through the history of American bombings, from the earliest bombings in America right up to the most current-day events.
While in the classroom, we were given a taste of what was to come in the afternoon on the range, a few large booms came from the range-site, and this, of course, sparked the interest of the attendees filling the room with anticipation for the afternoon’s activities. I’m not really sure if that was part of the scheduled shots, or if Frank just couldn’t wait to try out his handy work.
Thanks to Geary Baxter and his crew, everyone was treated to a hot dog lunch with all the fixings, chips, chili, and drinks. Shade covered bleachers were provided to keep the sun off the students during the demonstrations. The range was arranged with several props from mail boxes (fairly close to the bleachers), to two transit buses and an ambulance several hundred feet down range. And, of course, there was a pressure cooker, which was placed down range, so that we could see the effects of a device similar to the one used in Boston.
The students were given the count down, so they could get their cameras ready to capture the moment, “Fire in the hole, three, two, one”! Our very own Scotty Baker, the voice of the AER range, would call out when each prop was ready to be set off. This year had more than its fair share of silence when the charge was supposed to go off. After making our first run down range to get a closer look (and see the handy work of the Sheriff’s bomb team), it was clear what had happened, the fragmentation from the first explosions took out the six-pair lead-in wire. By the way, the trip down range was in a people mover provided by CVAI; these guys think of everything.
The class was attended by nearly one hundred and fifty students from police, fire, and evidence people from all over the state. There was even a fellow from New York City in the class (and I thought it was a long drive from San Diego). There was great representation from the CCAI elected officials; President Scotty Baker, First Vice-president Tom Peirce, Second Vice-president Eric Emmanuele, Director Dale Feb, and myself Director Troy Morrison.
Thanks to all the folks at Central Valley Arson Investigators for all their hard work!! Another great training class. We are all looking forward for what is in store for next year when the theme for the AER class will be “First Responders”.
Troy Morrison, PIO CCAI
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