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What is hidden in that piece of char?

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Utilizing Radiography and Computerized Tomography as Tools for Non-Destructive Examinations

Many times the evidence left after a fire is unrecognizable and appliances that are made partially out of plastic have melted leaving only a pile of char.  However, most of the time, the metal components inside the appliance have remained intact and are just buried in charred plastic making them inaccessible for physical examination.  This causes a problem for the investigator because the components they need to exam are unavailable.  They risk causing damage to the artifact if they physically try to remove the components by breaking away the plastic.  That’s why our team of investigators are trained to utilize radiography (X-rays) and computerized tomography (CT scans) as a non-destructive examination tool.

 

Utilizing X-rays as a non-destructive tool has been used in fire investigation for years.  X-rays are a great way to see components on a two dimensional image and can be very useful in determining switch positions, fuse conditions, and many other things. A CT scan is an x-ray procedure that combines many X-ray images together, with the aid of a computer, to produce a three-dimensional image.  Below are examples of images from a CT scan of a surge protector.  As you can see, these images are incredibly detailed.

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These images give our investigators the ability to see inside of an object without cutting or destroying the evidence and therefore preserving the evidence.   You can see the metal oxide varistors (MOVs) and switch contacts in the images above.  These tools are invaluable when determining the origin and cause of a fire. Contact Blaze Fire Investigation to assign a project or to learn more about our fire investigation and forensic engineering services. 

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