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Experimental validation of a numerical model for predicting the trajectory of blood drops in typical crime scene conditions, including droplet deformation and breakup, with a study of the effect of indoor air currents and wind on...
Forensic Science International, Volume: 245, Pages: 107 - 120
Swansea University Author: Elisabeth Williams
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DOI (Published version): 10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.10.020
Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (BPA) provides information about events during an assault, e.g. location of participants, weapon type and number of blows. To extract the maximum information from spatter stains, the size, velocity and direction of the drop that produces each stain, and forces acting duri...
|Published in:||Forensic Science International|
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Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (BPA) provides information about events during an assault, e.g. location of participants, weapon type and number of blows. To extract the maximum information from spatter stains, the size, velocity and direction of the drop that produces each stain, and forces acting during flight, must be known.A numerical scheme for accurate modeling of blood drop flight, in typical crime scene conditions, including droplet oscillation, deformation and in-flight disintegration, was developed and validated against analytical and experimental data including passive blood drop oscillations, deformation at terminal velocity, cast-off and impact drop deformation and breakup features. 4th order Runge–Kutta timestepping was used with the Taylor Analogy Breakup (TAB) model and Pilch and Erdman's (1987) expression for breakup time. Experimental data for terminal velocities, oscillations, and deformation was obtained via digital high-speed imaging. A single model was found to describe drop behavior accurately in passive, cast off and impact scenarios.Terminal velocities of typical passive drops falling up to 8 m, distances and times required to reach them were predicted within 5%. Initial oscillations of passive blood drops with diameters of 1 mm < d < 6 mm falling up to 1.5 m were studied. Predictions of oscillating passive drop aspect ratio were within 1.6% of experiment. Under typical crime scene conditions, the velocity of the drop within the first 1.5 m of fall is affected little by drag, oscillation or deformation.Blood drops with diameter 0.4–4 mm and velocity 1–15 m/s cast-off from a rotating disk showed low deformation levels (Weber number < 3). Drops formed by blunt impact 0.1–2 mm in diameter at velocities of 14–25 m/s were highly deformed (aspect ratios down to 0.4) and the larger impact blood drops (∼1–1.5 mm in diameter) broke up at critical Weber numbers of 12–14. Most break-ups occurred within 10–20 cm of the impact point. The model predicted deformation levels of cast-off and impact blood drops within 5% of experiment. Under typical crime scene conditions, few cast-off drops will break up in flight. However some impact-generated drops were seen to break up, some by the vibration, others by bag breakup.The validated model can be used to gain deep understanding of the processes leading to spatter stains, and can be used to answer questions about proposed scenarios, e.g. how far blood drops may travel, or how stain patterns are affected by winds and draughts.
Bloodstain pattern analysis; Drag; Droplet breakup; Droplet oscillation; Numerical modeling; Trajectory
Faculty of Science and Engineering