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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • plastic bag;
  • polyethylene;
  • optical microscope;
  • Welch’s t-test;
  • SEM-EDX;
  • microscopic Raman spectrometry

Abstract:  Several nondestructive and semidestructive analyses were used to discriminate colorless transparent polyethylene bags. Transparent plastic bags made from low-density and linear low-density polyethylene usually contain antiblocking agents to prevent sticking of the film, which makes it difficult to open the mouths of plastic bags. Inorganic antiblocking agents are uniformly dispersed in polyethylene films, so they are easily observed using optical microscopy. The particle size distributions of the antiblocking agents were compared by statistical tests. Particle composition was examined by elemental analysis using energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry with a scanning electron microscope and by molecular vibration analysis using a sensitive microscopic Raman spectrometer. The compositions could be determined nondestructively on the basis of the results. These data reinforce the morphological discrimination. Morphological discrimination of the dispersed antiblocking agent powders, statistical comparison of particle size distributions, and compositional analysis of the antiblocking agents strengthen the ability to discriminate polyethylene films.