This week, Forensic Science students began studying fiber evidence. In the pictured lab, students learned that, if enough fabric or fibers are present, fibers can be identified by the way they burn. Fabrics made from natural plant-based fibers have consistent burn characteristics, as do animal-based fibers and synthetic fibers.

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By burning eight different known fabrics, forensic students are able to identify these patterns and use their reasoning skills to determine the identity of two unknown fabrics recovered from a crime scene. This was an exciting--and sometimes smelly--lab for these young scientists.