Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

David D. Cunningham

Department Affiliation


Second Advisor

Radhika Dasari

Department Affiliation


Third Advisor

Darrin L. Smith

Department Affiliation



Fingerprint evidence recovered at a crime scene plays a key role in apprehending a suspect. Cyanoacrylate fuming is one the most successful methods of enhancing fingerprints from metallic surfaces. Despite the success of cyanoacrylate fuming, fingerprint recovery on fired cartridge casings is rarely successful. Therefore, a new fingerprint development method is needed to enhance fingerprint evidence that may still be present on fired cartridge casings. The aim of this research project is to study the use of metal and paint electrodeposition to enhance fingerprints on a brass metal surface.

High throw power paint was used in the initial study; high throw power paint is formulated to coat the surface of the metal disks as well as any pits or crevices on the surface. These initial experiments showed that commercial high throw power paint had a tendency to cover not only the bare metal surface, but the fingerprint residue. In the next round of experiments, adjustments to the formulation were made to decrease the binder concentration by addition of carbon black and polyethylene glycol. The pH of the high throw power paint was adjusted with the addition of acetic acid and ammonium hydroxide. Dilution of paint showed a modest increase in fingerprint enhancement. Changes in paint morphology upon adjustment of the binder and non-aqueous components were observed.