1st Edition

Mechanics of Impression Evidence

By David S. Pierce Copyright 2011
    241 Pages 57 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    As forensic technology becomes more sophisticated, courts are demanding more scientific content and juries are expecting meticulous confirmation of facts alleged. Greater attention is now paid to increasingly finer details and improved methods of describing every form of evidence. Applying physics, chemistry, and engineering to the process of analysis and interpretation, Mechanics of Impression Evidence reflects the shift to these heightened standards and offers a starting point for significant change in the way that impression evidence is considered, utilized, and presented.

    Concepts discussed in this groundbreaking text include:

    • The three-dimensional nature of the human fingerprint and a shift toward a more holistic image of the surface of friction skin
    • Dimensional stability and striation mark issues, which can change the way footwear outsoles are evaluated and compared
    • The research and development of electrostatic scans that could possibly save lives and locate or describe evidence as never before
    • The growing availability of new measurement techniques that can improve evidence testimony
    • The use of personal experimentation to support conclusions or confirm that which is otherwise considered fact

    Making use of logic and science to question our approach to impression evidence, this volume begins with simple ideas and basic notions and uses these building blocks to suggest and consider potentially controversial changes in the way evidence is located, interpreted, compared, and presented.

    Forensic Analysis of Wood DNA; S. L Wilson and D. S. Pierce


    Materials, Methods, and Results


    Signs of Evolution

    A New Beginning for Forensics

    Substrate to Structure


    A Basic Look at a Popular Substrate



    Ivory Tower Syndrome

    The View Has Changed

    The Basis

    The Ground We Walk On

    Soil Composition

    The Structure of Soil

    Influences that Act on Soils

    A Curious Destination for Minerals and Dyes

    Measurement; E. Liscio and D. S. Pierce

    The Relevance of Measurement

    Accuracy and Language Issues


    Stereoscopic Images and Scanning Synopsis

    Fluids; P. Mallay and D. S. Pierce

    Simple Drops

    Modeling Droplets

    Sample Calculation

    Experimental Process

    Friction and Fluids

    Analysis and Comparison


    Surface Pairings

    The Value of a Surface Pairing

    Sequential Analysis


    Coincidental Impressions

    Paired Surfaces at a Point of Contact

    Industrial Materials


    Sources of Bias

    Creation Theory Bias

    The Awful Truth about Bias




    Exhibits to Evidence

    Re-Creating the Scene

    The Use of Observations

    Validation Study of Three-Dimensional Striations from Outsoles

    Beginning with Markings

    The Hypothesis

    Empirical Studies

    Dimensional Stability of Outsoles

    Experiments with Casual Exposures to Solvents

    Summary of Possibilities and Probabilities of Validation

    Potential of Electrostatics

    Images of Electrons

    Toward Development of a Unified Theory

    Collective Value


    Appendix: Terminal Velocity Calculator




    David S. Pierce is certified as a footwear examiner by the Canadian Identification Society and has had numerous articles published in the Journal of Forensic Science.