Gunshot Back-Splatter

Today blood pattern analysis is an important forensic technique used in reconstructing the events at crime scenes. Many methods use straight-line trajectories to try to isolate the origin of blood splatters, but this discounts the effects of gravity and drag on flying droplets. A new theory models the back-splatter of a gunshot wound fluid dynamically.

Using characteristics of the bullet and gunshot, it estimates the initial conditions of blood drops leaving a wound, then models the break-up of the fluid as a Rayleigh-Taylor instability, where a denser fluid (blood) is accelerating into a less dense fluid (air). This results in a moving cloud of droplets and air whose trajectory and impact on a surface can be calculated. The ultimate goal is to create a physical model that can be used in reverse, where analysts can observe patterns and calculate their origin with confidence. For more, see the original paper or Gizmodo’s coverage. (Image credit: T. Webster; research credit: P. Comiskey et al.)

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