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Unlocking the hidden information in char to create a new quantitative toolkit for use in forensic fire investigations

Objective

Fire Investigations are undertaken to determine the origin and cause of fires in housing or commercial properties, to identify whether there may be a need for criminal investigation, to provide information on financial loss and in the case of loss of life to design protocols to protect society. Charring is one of the most obvious products of fire and fire investigators have long attempted to utilise patterns of charring to determine fire origin and cause. However, these have often had to rely on qualitative descriptions of charring as there is no quantitative tool that allows them to measure the degree of charring of wood materials. My ERC StG developed a quantitative method that allows the amount of light reflected from charcoals to be measured toward estimating wildfire behaviour. In FORCHAR (forensic char) I aim to adapt this approach and develop it into an essential tool for use in the fire investigator’s forensic toolkit. Its strength is that it allows quantitative measurements of char properties to be used to interpret the origin and source of fires. The FORCHAR tool will be taken through a series of phases of validation testing to that 1) will provide proof of concept that the approach can be transferred from wildfires to fires in the built environment, 2) will allow real-world testing where FORCHAR will be utilised in real fire scene investigations via collaborations with industry partners. The aim being to develop a new tool that can be used to improving fire safety protocols toward preventing the loss of life.
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Host institution

THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER

Address

The Queen'S Drive Northcote House
Ex4 4qj Exeter

United Kingdom

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 150 000

Beneficiaries (1)

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THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 150 000

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 862304

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 November 2019

  • End date

    30 April 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

Hosted by:

THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER

United Kingdom