Thiel college Greenville, PA
On an average day around 96 Americans are killed with guns. When considering the topic of forensics, it can be viewed as a broad subject because of the fact that it has a vast amount of sub-categories. One of these primary categories of forensics is called ballistics which is described by Criminal Justice Degree Schools, “Forensic ballistics is the examination of evidence relating to firearms at a crime scene.” This research paper will explain how technology and ballistics go hand in hand to help solve crimes.
Ballistic experts recognize the many different marks that a firearm imprints on a bullet some identifications they make include rifling inside barrels, and other markings on the projectile itself. Experts often tend to model their scenes to receive better vantage points and points of impact. There are miniscule details in every bullet that experts examine to determine what model production it is, and chemical test to see what ammunition was used in the firearm. With every test ran on bullets after crimes ballistics become extremely complex dealing with numbers, angles, distance, and trajectory points. Experts analyze firing pin impressions, extractor marks, tool marks and ejector marks in shells and casings. They use comparison microscopes to compare bullet marks side by side to identify possible matches to casings.
Ballistics is considered a science, however for many years law enforcement and courts observed ballistics as redundant and non-significant in most major gun related crimes. With todays technological features ballistics have made a massive impact on evolving the science behind ballistics. Many scholars and researchers that work in ballistics bend over backwards to enhance the value of different ballistic research methods and improve efficiency for all forensic procedures. Physical laws are a main focal point in ballistics, starting with the Law of Ideal Gas. An ideal gas law as defined on a web article “Ideal Gas Law” “one in which all collisions between atoms or molecules are perfectly eleastic sic (elastic) and in which there are no intermolecular attractive forces”. Meaning that spheres of energy strike each other but do not interact with one another.
Ballistics is typically separated into three different areas: external, internal, and terminal ballistics. In order to deliver scientist adequate analytical instruments, the division was made to teach the study of separate ballistics to adapt features to become more effective. The division is based upon a pathway that the bullet takes down the barrel, through the air, and then the target. In the study of internal ballistics behaviors forensic scientist use velocity as a central standard measuring unit. Internal Ballistics “is to evaluate spatial, as well as time curves of velocity and pressure, with physical plausibility and possible precision, under a given set of loading conditions” (K. S. Bhaskara Rao, K. C. Sharma, 157).
Combustion residues, powders and pressures, energy transfer, along with weapon recoil are all general elements required to be known by forensic professionals. The precise moment that the bullet exits the barrel, the bullet converts into an object of external ballistics. According to the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, “External ballistics is the study of what happens to the bullet while it is in flight.” The way crosswinds alter missile trajectory is an additional topic of forensic research in external ballistics. Some numerical basis of external ballistics that turns ballistics into a field of mathematics dealing with geometrics and algebraic problems include bullet stability, density, shape, aerodynamics, and flight stabilization. Without researching the process and changes the bullet undertakes while encountering with an object, the study of external ballistics would become invalid.
The studies of ballistics that have previously been mentioned all fall into
terminal ballistics research.
“We have chosen to conceive of terminal ballistics as
a violent and extremely rapid confrontation between two forms of resistance
before the final state of rest is reached. This definition, which cannot help but don
the admittedly loud and outlandish garb of physics, is the most promising for the
purposes of biological interpretation” (Mangiante G, Dagradi V, Radin S, Carolo
F, Giarolli M, Tenci A, Meric G, Acerbi A, Tosi D, Della Giacoma G).
Terminal ballistics professionals collaborate to connect the relationship between target devastations and the flight of the bullet, design, velocity, and physical appearance of the target. In terminal ballistics, chemistry is a substantial obstacle professional IT developers encounter while trying to find a way to create a more effective system of ballistic calculations. Terminal ballistics is understandably the most complex, intricate, and greatly accounted for area of topic for forensic scientist considering that the majority of cases that terminal ballistics investigates are human, and the structural development of the human body is awfully complicated.
Forensic analysist have studied mass amounts of crimes involving firearms, determining that bullet behaviors are unpredictable and too unexpected. Therefore, to constantly clarify the connection between the course of the bullet and the mutilations of the object or victim is impossible meaning scientist do not always figure out the crime. As mentioned above in the previous paragraph this is another example of why terminal ballistics is tremendously a complex study of kinetic forces, penetration, and impacts that are responsible for the significant alterations the bullet endures after striking an object.
Today, technology is so advanced that software models are compacted with intelligent material but are effortless to operate. However, mass productions of firearms have put an obstacle in the middle of the road and crime solving to a hold. Meaning that bullets become harder to match to the correct firearm being used. Scientist have now started to balance the study of behavior of the bullet at which the bullet travels through the barrel of the gun to the intended object along with matching bullet markings left at the crime scene to a specific gun.
Forensic ballistics captured a gunman by collecting pollen coated sticky bullets. Paul Sermon stated,
“The initial idea was to coat a bullet with a biochemical that stuck to the hands of those
who touched it, allowing police to test the hands of suspects. Then they hit on a technique
that could also stash away skin cells from that person. “We’ve combined these to increase
the probability of obtaining useful associative evidence.”
Many challenges were faced with the heat generated from a bullet exiting the firearm but after many unsuccessful years they have hit a promising solution “It’s as simple as dunking a biscuit in a cup of tea,”(Sermon).
“Their first trick is to roughen the surface of the cartridge by dipping it in a solution of
aluminium oxide and urea. When dry, this leaves an abrasive, ridged surface on which far
more skin cells can be captured, increasing the chances that usable DNA can be
recovered. Tested on bullets from a 9 millimetre Browning pistol, the team found that 53
per cent more viable DNA could be harvested from these bullets than from normal ones
(Forensic Science International, DOI: 10.1016/ j.forsciint.2012.04.021)” (Serman).
Some critics wonder why forensics even matter, or why we spend so much money on technology and science when we can use the money for other purposes. On the other hand, many others as well as I, believe that science and technology is being properly spent with undergoing new ways to improve living conditions of America. I strongly believe that I have explained thoroughly as of what forensics is, how ballistics work, and why forensics is needed and significant in everyday life.