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    Home / Science projects / Fuming for Fingerprints
    • Fuming for Fingerprints

      Fuming for Fingerprints

      Another method for finding fingerprints is called "fuming." This works for many surfaces where fingerprint powder doesn't work so well, and also for prints on portable objects. With this technique, chemical fumes react with the organic substances in fingerprints (amino acids, etc.) to cause invisible prints to appear.

      What You Need:

      Note: Be careful with the superglue - get an adult's permission.

      What You Do:

      1. Touch the microscope slide with your finger to leave latent prints on it.
      2. Place the piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of the airtight container. Put 3 drops of superglue on the center of the foil.
      3. Place the microscope slide in the container (don't let it touch the glue; you may need to prop it up diagonally). Put the lid on tightly.
      4. Place the container in a cup or bowl of hot water. The heat will cause the superglue to give off fumes more quickly.
      5. After 15-20 minutes check the microscope slide to see if any prints have developed on it. They will appear an off-white color and can be seen well if you hold the slide up to the light or over a piece of black paper.

      What Happened:

      Certain chemical fumes react with the sweat and other organic residue left in latent fingerprints. The strong chemical fumes from the cyanoacrylate in the glue will react with the residue from your fingers. The chemical reaction causes the residue to turn white so you can see it. Professionals also use ninhydrin (which reacts with amino acids in latent prints) and silver nitrate powder developed under a UV light.

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    By: sameira
    Date: Mar 09, 2016

    this is a great science project for the science fair i used it and i won first place i think i am going to do this again for my next science fair that is how good this activity is it is amazing every who has a science fair should use this amazing science project

    By: Darla Mill
    Date: Sep 21, 2014

    Could you please make your projects and experiments printer friendly?