“Microscopic Investigation of Outdoor “Sooty” Surface Problems”

2007:137:Millette, Turner, Hill, Few, Kyle

Environmental Forensics, Vol. 8:37-51, 2007


The investigation of darkening agent contamination (termed sooty problems) on the surfaces of buildings and outdoor facilities relies on the microscopical analysis of particles. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM, West Conshohocken, PA) Standard D6602 deals with surface disfigurement by soot and other environmental particulate. It provides a framework for sampling and using both light and electron microscopy to classify the particles involved in a dark surface contamination situation. ASTM Standard D3274 deals specifically with microbial (fungal or algal) growth on outdoor surfaces.

It is useful when considering the situations where microbial particles are the major source of surface disfigurement. However, additional information is required to classify all of the various types of contaminants that an investigator might encounter during environmental forensic studies of “sooty”-appearing contamination on outdoor surfaces. This article provides useful information for identifying the various types of contaminants that might be the cause of a dark appearance on an outdoor surface.

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