You are here: Home > Departments > Trace Evidence > Adhesive Tape

Typical Evidence Examination Scheme









 Adhesive Tape

 Muzzle to Target Distance

 Unknown Materials Identification

 Latent Fingerprint Development

Adhesive Tape

Adhesive tape is most often received as evidence in homicide cases in which the victim is bound with ligatures.  The tape bindings must be removed carefully so that any evidence adhering to the tape is preserved.  The adhesive portion of the tape is an excellent vehicle for capturing trace evidence from the environments in which the tape was present.  Hairs, fibers, paint chips, and particulate debris are but a few of the samples that can be removed from adhesive tape and used to establish an evidentiary link for the case.  DNA and fingerprints may also be present on the adhesive tape and should be looked for prior to any physical examination of the tape sample.  It should also be remembered that the mechanism used to separate the tape sample from the roll may allow for a physical match to be observed between the evidentiary tape sample and a suspected tape source.  




Duct tape backing cross section

Microscopic preparation of duct tape adhesive

Microscopic preparation of duct tape adhesive visualized under crossed polars,  notice the calcite particle at the center of the image