A Method for Studying Knife Tool Marks on Bone


Additional information and reprint requests:
Kai-Ping Shaw, M.D., Ph.D.
Director of Department of Forensic Pathology
Institute of Forensic Medicine
Ministry of Justice
No.123, Min-an Street
Zhonghe City
Taipei County 235
Taiwan (R.O.C.)
E-mail: kpshaw596@gmail.com


Abstract:  The characteristics of knife tool marks retained on hard tissues can be used to outline the shape and angle of a knife. The purpose of this study was to describe such marks on bone tissues that had been chopped with knives. A chopping stage with a gravity accelerator and a fixed bone platform was designed to reconstruct the chopping action. A digital microscope was also used to measure the knife angle (θ) and retained V-shape tool mark angle (ψ) in a pig skull. The κ value (elasticity coefficient; θ/ψ) was derived and recorded after the knife angle (θ) and the accompanied velocity were compared with the proportional impulsive force of the knife and ψ on the bone. The constant impulsive force revealed a correlation between the V-shape tool mark angle (ψ) and the elasticity coefficient (κ). These results describe the tool marks—crucial in the medicolegal investigation—of a knife on hard tissues.