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Neutron diffraction investigation of shear forces on triacylglycerols for forensic application

Project Member(s): Stuart, B., Thomas, P.

Funding or Partner Organisation: The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Bragg Institute)
Australian Institute of Nuclear Science & Engineering (AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING)

Start year: 2014

Summary: The project emerged as a result of collaborative work between the Centre for Forensic Science at UTS and the Department of Forensic Medicine at Westmead Hospital. The unusual appearance of crystalline fat structures were observed during the post-mortem examination of a motor vehicle accident victim in 2006. The crystal structures were characterised using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction. The structures were found to be made of triacylglycerols, a dominant lipid structure found in human adipose tissue and capable of forming various polymorphic structures. The accelerated growth of a specific triacylglycerol morphology was proposed to be a result of shear stresses. The aim of this study is to monitor the formation of model triacylglycerol crystallinity during controlled shear stress experiments. The use of neutron diffraction will enable the polymorphic structures to be more clearly characterised. An understanding of the effect of forces on the structure of body fat in high impact collisions can potentially assist in verifying a high velocity impact.


Maynard-Casely, HE, Booth, N, Leung, AE, Stuart, BH & Thomas, PS 2019, 'Potential of neutron powder diffraction for the study of solid triacylglycerols', Food Structure, vol. 22.
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Stuart, BH, Maynard-Casely, HE, Booth, N, Leung, AE & Thomas, PS 2019, 'Neutron diffraction of deuterated tripalmitin and the influence of shear on its crystallisation.', Chemistry and physics of lipids, vol. 221, pp. 108-113.
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Booth, N, Davidson, G, Imperia, P, Lee, S, Stuart, B, Thomas, P, Komatsu, K, Yamane, R, Prescott, SW, Maynard-Casely, HE, Nelson, A & Rule, KC 2017, 'Three impossible things before lunch - The task of a sample environment specialist', Journal of Neutron Research, vol. 19, no. 1-2, pp. 49-56.
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Keywords: neutron diffraction, triacylglycerols, shear stress, crystallinity

FOR Codes: Forensic Chemistry, Law Enforcement