The population of coloured textile fibres in domestic washing machines

Forensic Science Society
Watt Rebecca, Roux Claude, and Robertson James 2005, 'The population of coloured textile fibres in domestic washing machines', Forensic Science Soc, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 75-83.
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A population survey was carried out to analyse examples of the coloured fibre population that-may be expected to exist in both front- and top-loading domestic washing machines during Spring, in Sydney, Australia. White cotton T-shiIfs were washed both individually, and with a normal household wash load, then taped to recover extraneous fibres transferred during the wash cycle. Twelve thousand one hundred and seventy-eight fibres were classified according to length, colour and generic class. Cotton fibres were most prevalent (69.4%), followed by man-made fibres (24.2%). The most common colour/generic class combinations were black/grey cotton (27%), blue cotton (20%) and red cotton (15.6%). Other combinations generally represented under 2% of the total fibre population. Two thirds (65.9%) of the recovered, fibres were under 2mm in length, the proportion of fibres decreasing with increasing fibre length. Variations in machine type did not affect the distribution of fibres with respect to fibre type, colour or length.
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