SCQF Level: 09
Module Code: FOR305
Credit Value: 20
Term: Term 1
School: School of Science, Engineering & Technology
Examines the investigation, evaluation & interpretation of evidence from fires & explosions. It examines causes of fire, thermodynamics of combustion, sample collection & packaging, chemical tests & analytical techniques for fire debris analysis. It explores the nature of explosives & explosions, blast wave propagation, damage caused & the forensic evidence as well as firearms evidence and metallurgical failures, and considers the approaches from the crime scene to court presentation and interpretation.
The aims of this Module are to enable the student to: (i) examine and characterise the origin of fire/explosion debris; (ii) evaluate techniques for distinguishing residues, (iii) identify the source and subsequent history of samples, (iv) understand the principles of kinetics/dynamics, energetics, phase transfer, and (v) the interpretation and understanding of materials and failures
By the end of this module the student should be able to:
1. Apply the principles of kinetics and thermodynamics to fires and explosions
2. Interpret findings of fire investigations in relation to fire dynamics
3. Characterise explosives and fire debris
4. Describe and evaluate forensic firearm and ballistic examinations
5. Evaluate the mechanisms of material failures.
6. Critically interpret experimental observations and relate them to theory and practice
1 Fire and Explosion Dynamics
Heat transfer mechanisms, ignition and spread of flame, spontaneous and smouldering combustion, pre-and post-flash-over fires, smoke movement, buoyancy, fuel load.
2 Thermochemistry of Fuels and Explosives
Combustion and energy release, oxygen balance and the Kistiakowsky−Wilson rules, Hess's law, heat and temperature of explosion, the concept of heat capacity.
3 Explosion and Fire Debris analysis
Explosives classification, factors affecting detonation. Debris position, identification of mechanical, thermal history and origin. Use of chemical tests to identify potential explosive residues and accelerants. Fire cause diagnosis, identification of origin of fire and source of ignition.
4 Properties of Physical Evidence Materials
Microstructure and micro properties of metals and alloys, fracture fatigue and creep. Corrosion mechanisms. Metallurgical examination of failures.
5 Interpretation of results
Introduction to evidence interpretation and the reporting of physical evidence cases.
Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment
Knowledge: lectorials, case studies involving formative assessment, team working, self−assessment and communication opportunities. Reinforcing practical sessions allow contextualisation of the knowledge and provide further team working and communication opportunities.
Teaching and Learning Work Loads
|Supervised Practical Activity||12|
|Unsupervised Practical Activity||0|
Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.