What is Forensic Chemistry?

Yash Gorasiya
3 min readDec 28, 2020

Hello people , this will help you understand the basic definition of Forensic Chemistry .

When we hear the word Forensic Chemistry many of us starts relating it with the Chemistry or specifically Physical Chemistry . So after reading this article you will be cleared with why Forensic chemistry is different from Physical Chemistry.

Forensic chemistry is the applied analytical chemistry. Analytical
chemistry encompasses qualitative and quantitative analysis while
Forensic chemistry adds comparative analysis to the task list.

  • For Example Spectroscopic analysis can determine whether the fiber is made up of Nylon or polyethylene. What it is and How much it is there?

So analytical chemistry provides necessary quantitative and qualitative data that is necessary to determine Forensic Questions like….

  • Where could this fiber come from ?
  • Could this plastic pieces come from plastic bag?
  • Whether the gasoline used to start the fire ?
  • Did this paint chip come from that car?
  • Which gun used at crime scene on the basis of bullet found?

After reading this much there will be question in your mind why i am relating this stuff with the Forensic Chemistry , What is Spectroscopic analysis ? and many more . You will get answers of all your questions if you keep continue reading.

Forensic chemistry is the application of chemistry and its sub field,
Forensic toxicology, in a legal setting. A forensic chemist can assist in
the identification of unknown materials found at a crime scene.

Forensic chemist have a wide array of methods and instruments to
help identify unknown substances.

  • For Example :- High Performance Liquid Chromatography
    (HPLC), Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS),
    Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS), Fourier Transform
    Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Thin Layer Chromatography
    (TLC) and many more . Don’t worry we will see this in deep in upcoming Articles .

Forensic chemists prefer using non-destructive methods first, to
preserve evidence and to determine which destructive methods will
produce the best results. The range of different methods is important due to the destructive nature of some instruments and the number of possible unknown substances that can be found at a scene. The substance found can very from one crime scene to other , so Forensic chemist have to think all about how will be evidence affected , what could be the result etc. If there is more than one suitable method t hen they need to see which method gives Accurate, Fast and Best result and if there is only one method then they have to go along with that. They have to follow a set of standards that have been proposed by several Agencies and Governing Bodies , including the Scientific Working Group on the Analysis of Seized Drugs. So in order to Accurately report Forensic chemist regularly check and verify that their instruments are working correctly and are still able to detect and measure various quantities of different substances.

A Forensic chemist has an important role in finding of a criminal and to solve a criminal case . The Forensic chemists commonly testify in court as Expert witness regarding their findings .

This was about some basics of Forensic Chemistry you should Know. Now you would be clear why Forensic chemistry is different from the Physical Chemistry. I will write about History of Forensic chemistry in the next Article , till then Bye bye and Happy Learning.

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Yash Gorasiya

Associate Project Manager at The SecOps Group || Technical Writer at The SecOps Group || Cyber Security Writer at VulnMachines