Faculty Advisor

Berka, Ladislav H.


The ability to obtain fingerprints is an important part of forensic science used to identify the identity of an individual. The two types of prints used in this project include eccrine and sebaceous prints. Eccrine prints are fingerprints deposited from sweat secretions on the fingertips. Sebaceous prints are fingerprints deposited from oil secretions on the forehead or sides of the nose. The author's fingerprints of both types were placed on glass slides and placed under water. After suitable time periods, the slides were removed, treated with super glue, powdered with black fingerprint powder and lifted onto transparent lifts. The transparent lifts were then scanned and finally compared to inked fingerprints of the author made by the Worcester Bureau of Criminal Investigation lab. The comparisons were used to match characteristics or points of the experimental prints to the control prints to determine if the prints could be identified. The goal of this project is to answer the question: How long can eccrine and sebaceous fingerprints deposited on glass last under water and still be identifiable according to the eight point minimum Massachusetts standard? Surprisingly, the answer to this question is not provided in the forensic science literature.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2004



Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry