Determination of Gunshot Residue as a Unique Identifier in Forensic Science

Andrew Durney

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Chemical Engineering

University of Rochester

27 April 2012


Gunshot residue was collected from four types ammunition. Scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive analysis of x-rays were used to characterize the gunshot residue particles' morphology and chemical composition. The particle size distribution was found to be an exponentially decaying function with increasing particle diameter, but no significant difference was found between samples. Gunshot residue particles were found to contain mostly lead, with occasional particles also containing barium and antimony. While these elements can be used to identify gunshot residue, composition uniqueness between ammunition types could not be determined.