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Thermal & Carbonless Papers: A Fundamental Understanding for Latent Friction Ridge Development

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Identification Volume: 53 Issue: 2 Dated: March/April 2003 Pages: 185-197
Jon T. Stimac
Date Published
March 2003
13 pages
This article reports on an experiment which showed that a ninhydrin solution (HFE-711PA in HFE-7100) consistently developed latent friction ridge detail on both thermal and carbonless papers, while allowing minimal damage or discoloration to either type of specialty paper.
Invented in 1950 and commercially introduced in 1954, carbonless paper consists of a minimum of two pages (two-ply) coupled to produce a form in which duplicate copies are created and permanently preserved. Many current latent friction-ridge-processing techniques and their required solutions often damage both the coated back and coated front surfaces of this specialty paper. Thermal paper, identified from other papers by its white, semiglossy appearance, consists of several layers or coats, each having its own unique application and property while bonded together to form one sheet of paper. Most current processing techniques and their required solutions damage thermal paper. Given the disadvantages of current methods for obtaining prints from these specialty papers, there is a need for more efficient solutions for the development of friction-ridge impressions. The experiment reported in this article demonstrates the effective use of 3M Corporation's Novec hydrofluoroether (HFE), 1-methoxy-nonafluorobutane (HFE-7100). In their undiluted form, these carriers will not damage either type of specialty paper; however, for effective latent friction ridge development with minimal damage, a relatively nonpolar stock solution is essential. 5 figures and 17 references