Fire nitrate ion is one such oxidizing agent

Fire is
considered to be one of the most detrimental forces in the world, causing
damage to the property and loss of life. Fire is formed by combustion; A
sequence of the chemical process with the liberation of light and heat. Since
there is an evolution of heat, the process of combustion can be considered as
an exothermic redox reaction. Most fires have molecular oxygen as oxidant. This
oxidant contributes up to 20.95% (Jackson et al., 2013). There are also other
elements which act as the oxidants under some exceptional situations. The
nitrate ion is one such oxidizing agent in fireworks. A fire is said to be
self-sustaining only when it meets four conditions; the presence of fuel and
suitable oxidant brought together in appropriate amounts, with a supplementation
of proper energy for the process of ignition. In addition to this, the heat
that is generated in the process helps in continuously reigniting the fire.

The heat can be
generated by two different processes known as flames and smolders. Flames can be
described as the crest of burning gas and smolders are nothing but the
production of heat energy in absence of flames. Flames may emerge from a
process known as pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is when the heat will have an impact on
the breakdown of chemicals of a solid fuel, such as coal or wood. Pyrolysis
might also be a result of vaporization of a liquid fuel (eg. Petrol) or fuel
itself being a gas such as methane. When solid fuels burn, they give rise to
smolders (smoke). Pyrolysis of organic solid fuels like wood results in both
flammable gas and char. The char, in turn, experience smoldering combustion
(Jackson et al., 2013).

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When we talk about incidents of fire under forensic
relevance, we consider the anthropological aspects concerning the loss of human
life. Fire modifies the human bones resulting structural and physical
deformities. These damages are studied thoroughly to know the condition of the
person (dead or alive) and type of fire at the time of the incident. The
investigation also helps in the determination of temperature at which the bone
was destructed.  The human body which is
incinerated due to accidents or with purpose is found to be in four different
states. Charred remains, partially burnt, incompletely or completely burnt. The
charred remains can be analyzed easily without any exceptions by serological
tests or visual identification. Partially cremated remains will have an
amorphous mass that consists of the organs and bony tissue. But, there is a
greater problem in the taphonomic analysis and identification of an
incompletely incinerated body as the bones become discolored, shrunk and
unrecognizable. (Pamela M. year)

 

In order to understand the burnt bone, a wide range
of chemical research techniques have been applied. But these applications have
produced results that are nonpareil with each other.  Characterization of a burnt bone using
chemical techniques and other methods is said to come from various sources such
as the medicolegal and anthropological communities. The characters of the burnt
bone are classified into two sectors
named, visual characters and histological characters. These characters are seen
due to step by step stages of dehydration, decomposition, inversion, and fusion. These stages are overlapping at a certain temperature and they are connected with
one another (Megan J. Richardson., 2017). The visual characters come with the following sub-characters:

·        
Change in
color: The study of change in color of the bone is one of the earliest studies
in the analysis of burnt bones. It is considered as a benchmark analysis to
determine the temperature range that a bone has been exposed to. Due to the
incineration of the organic materials of carbon and collagen (carbonization) of
the bone elements, a fresh bone will have an ivory color in the beginning and
changes to brown and black gradually (Sarah T.D et al., 2014). According to
Shipman The burnt bones unveil color change gradually from brown ->
gray-blue -> black -> gray -> gray-white -> chalk white (Shipman et
al., 1984). But this analysis has some hindrance in it. The change in the color
of burnt bones depends on other factors such as the positioning of the bone to
the heat source, exposure time, availableness of oxygen and also the inorganic
along with the organic material associated with the body. The observations made
from the change of color can help one argue about the type of fire the bone has
been exposed to and the maximum temperature that has been achieved. But the drawback
of this analysis is that there might be different colors present on one single
bone fragment or the distribution of all colors might be seen in one single
incineration. 

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