U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Fluid dynamics topics in bloodstain pattern analysis: comparative review and research opportunities

NCJ Number
Forensic Science International Volume: 231 Dated: September 10, 2013 Pages: 375-396
Date Published
September 2013
22 pages

This comparative review highlights the relationships between the disciplines of bloodstain pattern analysis (BPA) in forensics and that of fluid dynamics (FD) in the physical sciences.


In both the BPA and FD communities, scientists study the motion and phase change of a liquid in contact with air, or with other liquids or solids. Five aspects of BPA related to FD are discussed: the physical forces driving the motion of blood as a fluid; the generation of the drops; their flight in the air; their impact on solid or liquid surfaces; and the production of stains. For each of these topics, the relevant literature from the BPA community and from the FD community is reviewed. Comments are provided on opportunities for joint BPA and FD research, and on the development of novel FD-based tools and methods for BPA. Also, the use of dimensionless numbers is proposed to inform BPA analyses. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: September 1, 2013