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Chemical Name:
Surface Used On:
Non-Porous surfaces.
Sensitive To:
Eccrine components.
Development Color: Method to Record: Hazard: Protective Clothing: Fume Hood Use:


Reagent Characteristics

Development Complete When:

Source of Error:



Storage Container:



Similar Reagents

Sequential Reagents
(Not necessarily in this order.)

Abridged Reagent Sequence

Visual Examination
Forensic Light
*** Cyanoacrylate fuming ***
Dye Stain
Forensic Light

A. Liquid glue:
   Deposit an amount of glue
   about 20 mm in diameter in 
   a small porcelain plate.

       -- or  --

B. Commercial "Gel-pac":
   Open pack to release fumes.
A. Place item(s) into enclosed chamber.
B. Add glue (either A. or B. above).
C. Add humidity source
   (cup of warm water).
D. Fume at least 10 minutes,
   Monitor often for development.
E. Evaluate development under an
   oblique light source.
F. Photograph the developed detail.
G. Allow item to "sit overnight".
H. Process with dye-stain.
Some glossy paper surfaces such as 
magazine pages and beverage cartons 
which have been fumed with 
cyanoacrylate can be treated with 
ninhydrin as a follow-up procedure.
(Source: U.S. Secret Service)

Ridge Detail Visualized by:

Visible chemical/stain reaction.

Reagent Applicabilities:

Non-Porous surfaces

Other Chemical Name(s):


Working Solution Shelf-life:


Process Summary:
An item for processing is placed within an enclosed chamber. Fumes from the active ingredient of Cyanoacrylate ester polymerizes on the components of the impression's residue creating a white impression. Several post-cyanoacrylate dye stains or powders may be applied to improve the visualization of the developed detail.
Accepted Deviations:
Many forms of superglue fuming, fuming acceleration and chamber construction may be used for evidence processing. Items may also be processed with Cyanoacrylate ester using vacuum chambers.
Research suggests that prior to fuming, the moisture in the latent print residue may be re-generated by exposure to acetic acid vapors, thus improving the quality of the polymerization (Source: Lewis, et al). Researchers also advise that cyanoacrylate-developed latent prints be allowed to 'sit overnight' prior to applying dye stains. This is especially applicable for vacuum-subjected cyanoacrylate latent prints and for latent prints developed when sodium hydroxide cotton balls are used as a reaction catalyst (Source: U.S. Secret Service).
Supporting Reference Materials:
1.Lee, H.C. and Gaensslen, R.E. (1984), "Cyanoacrylate Fuming: Theory and Procedures".
2. "Chemical Formulas and Processing Guide for Developing Latent Prints", U.S. Dept. of Justice, pg. 47-48, 1994.
3. Advances in Fingeprint Technology 2nd. Ed., Lee, H.C. & Gaensslen, R.E., CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL., 2001.
4. Manual of Fingerprint Development Techniques 2nd. Ed., Home Office - Police Scientific Development Branch, White Crescent Press, Ltd., Luton, England, 2001.
5. Technical Notes, Lightning Powder Co. Inc., Salem, OR., 2001.
6. "Processes Involved in the Development of Latent Fingerprints Using the Cyanoacrylate Fuming Method", Lewis, L., Smithwick, R., Devault, G., Bolinger, B., & Lewis, S., Jor. Forensic Sciences, Vol. 46, No., 2, March 2001, pp.241-246.

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