Probably the most common type of trace evidence encountered in criminal
activity today is textile fibers. Fibers occur in a huge variety ofproducts, so
it is not surprising that they occur in many types and instances ofcrime.
Some estimates put fiber evidence in one-quarter of all crimes.
At the same time, it must be noted that mass production of garmentsand
other fiber-containing products means that it is ordinarily not possible
to individualize a loose fiber to a particular source; fibers are class
The analysis of fiber evidence has advanced with developments and
improvements in instrumentation, but placing these results in the proper
context requires an understanding of the mechanisms of transfer and
persistence of fibers, and the significance of finding foreign fibers
at a crime scene. It is unfortunate that there has been little researchinto the
significance of fibers in general, and transfer and persistence in
particular, because the travels and ultimate fate of fibers at a crime
scene can provide critical evidence about the movements and
juxtapositions of victims and suspected perpetrators.
The project will be to increase the understanding of the dynamics of
fiber transfer and its persistence, along with possibilities of
contamination, and the commonality of particular fibers.
The ideal completed project deliverable is impossible to describe
since the nature of the problem is so broad. However, a basic need
of fiber forensics is a model of fiber transport. And, this need goes
hand-in-hand with the need for a catalog of fibers which describesand
quantifies each fiber's unique properties as they affect transport.
This summary prepared from Evidential Value of TextileFiber --- Transfer and
Persistence of Fibers, J.A. Siegel, Forensic ScienceReview, 9(1997), 81-96; and
with the assistance of Professor Siegel.