Zuzanna Brozek-Mucha

PhD, Assoc. Prof.
associated professor
Instytut Ekspertyz Sądowych · Department of Criminalistics

Publications

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    ABSTRACT: In the study interactions of dichromate ions with potato starch granules in high acidic aqueous solutions and at different temperatures were investigated. It was found, that the process underwent as a reduction of Cr2O72- to Cr3+ accompanied by formation of intermediate Cr5+ ions detected by the electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. The reactions took place after prior attaching of dichromate anions to the granules and resulted in lowering of the Cr2O72- initial content in the solution. The newly formed Cr3+ ions were both accumulated by the granules or remained in the solution. It was for the first time observed that quantity of such ions taken by the granules from the solution was noticeably higher compared to that delivered by trivalent chromium salt solution. It was revealed by the scanning electron microscopy coupled with the energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX) that the chromium ions were not only adsorbed on the granule surface but also introduced into the granule interior and evenly distributed there. Activation energy of the reduction reaction equal to 65 kJ∙mol-1 and the optimal parameters of the process were established. Proposed mechanism could be useful for bioremediation of industrial effluents polluted by hexavalent chromium compounds.
    The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 05/2014; · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    Zuzanna Brożek-Mucha
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    ABSTRACT: The study was designed to obtain a comprehensive view on the prevalence of gunshot residue and the factors influencing their dispersion. 273 specimens collected from people of various professions, representing both users and non-users of firearms, as well as from the interior of a forensic laboratory were examined for the presence of gunshot residue. In specimens taken from hands of 100 people declaring no contact with firearms only one spherical particle containing lead, antimony and barium was found. Numbers of particles found in specimens collected from hands of 50 shooters varied from zero to numbers greater than 100 and were strongly correlated with the time interval between last shooting and collecting specimens. Within the first 4h after shooting particles are being lost from the shooter's hands, and so transferred from shooters to their environment. Thus, the relatives of five hunters were examined during both the close and open hunting seasons to trace the potential secondary transfer in practice. Using the criterion of low risk of contamination with gunshot residue, i.e. 5h after last handling a gun, only few specimens were encountered among these collected from hands of firearm users that contained characteristic particles and these occurred in small numbers. Frequent shooters, e.g. shooting instructors or firearm examiners, formed a class for themselves of high risk of contamination with gunshot residue. As a result of continuous monitoring of the laboratory (55 specimens examined so far), where the examinations of gunshot residue are being carried out, it has been proved that the laboratory is free from contamination and so confirmed the usefulness of protocols worked out. The obtained information provided empirical bases to the minimisation of the risk of contamination of the evidence as well as for the evaluation of the analytical findings in the expertise on gunshot incidents.
    Forensic science international 02/2014; 237C:46-52. · 2.10 Impact Factor
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    Zuzanna Brożek-Mucha
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    ABSTRACT: Chosen aspects of examinations of inorganic gunshot particles by means of scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry technique are presented. The research methodology of particles was worked out, which included a precise and repeatable procedure of the automatic detection and identification of particles as well as the representation of the obtained analytical data in the form of the frequencies of occurrence of particles of certain chemical or morphological class within the whole population of particles revealed in a specimen. On this basis, there were established relationships between the chemical and morphological properties of populations of particles and factors, such as the type of ammunition, the distance from the gun muzzle to the target, the type of a substrate the particles sediment on, and the time between shooting and collecting the specimens. Each of these aspects of examinations of particles revealed a great potential of being utilised in casework, while establishing various circumstances of shooting incidents leads to the reconstruction of the course of the studied incident.
    BioMed Research International 01/2014; 2014:428038. · 2.71 Impact Factor
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    Zuzanna Brożek-Mucha, Jolanta Wąs-Gubała
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    ABSTRACT: Metallic particles and textile fibres belong to forensic microtraces of a distinctively high evidential value. Examinations of these materials performed by various techniques of optical microscopy, electron microscopy, x-ray microanalysis and other microspectroscopic methods are utilised mainly for their identification and comparison to reference materials secured as evidence in various crimes. Results of such examinations are complementary to other information obtained during investigations and can be used to crime reconstruction. In shooting incidences usually gunshot residues, among them characteristic metallic particles, are cautiously studied. However, our experience demonstrates that detailed examinations of fibres in the surroundings of a gunshot damage in clothing of victims may additionally contribute to explanation of the impact done to the clothing and so significantly improve the inferences on the crime reconstruction. This is illustrated by an example of complex examinations of both, gunshot residues and textile fibres, selected from the casework of the authors.
    01/2012: pages 1480 – 1491; , ISBN: 978-84-939843-4-2
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    Zuzanna Brożek-Mucha
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    ABSTRACT: Persistence of gunshot residue (GSR) simultaneously collected from hands, face and hair, and clothing of the shooting person was examined. Samples were collected from five shooters in nine time intervals after a single shoot with a Luger 9 mm pistol, in the range of 0-4 h and examined with scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry. Numbers of particles, frequencies of occurrence of certain compositions of particles, and their sizes in function of the time intervals were inspected. The greatest numbers of particles were observed in samples collected from hands right after shooting, but they decrease quickly with time. In samples collected from the face smaller initial numbers of particles were found, but they lasted at a similar level longer. The estimated half-life times of particles were less than 1 h for samples taken from the hands, over 1 h for clothing and about 2-3 h for the face. In samples collected at longer intervals after shooting, there were particles present of small sizes and irregular shapes. The results demonstrate that including evidence collected from the suspect's face and hair may increase the probability of detection of GSR in cases when the suspect has not been apprehended immediately after the investigated incident.
    Microscopy and Microanalysis 11/2011; 17(6):972-82. · 2.50 Impact Factor
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    Zuzanna Brożek-Mucha
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    ABSTRACT: A study of the chemical contents and sizes of gunshot residue originating from 9×18mm PM ammunition, depositing in the vicinity of the shooting person was performed by means of scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry. Samples of the residue were collected from targets placed at various distances in the range 0-100cm as well as from hands and clothing of the shooting person. Targets were covered by fragments of white cotton fabric or black bovine leather. In the case of cotton targets microtraces were collected from circles of 5 and 10cm in radius. Results of the examinations in the form of numbers of particles, proportions of their chemical classes and dimensions revealed a dependence on the distance from the gun muzzle, both in the direction of shooting and in the opposite one, i.e., on the shooting person. The parameters describing gunshot residue differed also depending on the kind of the target substrate. The kind of obtained information gives rise to understanding the general rules of the dispersion of gunshot residue in the surroundings of the shooting gun. Thus, it may be utilised in the reconstruction of shooting incidences, especially in establishing the mutual positions of the shooter and other participants of the incident.
    Forensic Science International 02/2011; 210(1-3):31-41. · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    Microporous and Mesoporous Materials 01/2011; 144:46 – 56. · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    Zuzanna Brozek-Mucha
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    ABSTRACT: A reconstruction of an incident of a fatal wounding of a football fan with a parachute flare was performed. Physical and chemical examinations of the victim's trousers and parts of a flare removed from the wound in his leg were performed by means of an optical microscope and a scanning electron microscope coupled with an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer. Signs of burning were seen on the front upper part of the trousers, including a 35-40 mm circular hole with melted and charred edges. Postblast residue present on the surface of the trousers contained strontium, magnesium, potassium, and chlorine. Also the case files--the medical reports and the witnesses' testimonies--were thoroughly studied. It has been found that the evidence collected in the case supported the version of the victim being shot by another person from a distance.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 06/2009; 54(3):678-81. · 1.24 Impact Factor
  • Józefa Krystyna Sadlik, Zuzanna Brozek-Mucha
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    ABSTRACT: Results of the analysis of biological materials originating from the body of general Sikorski are presented in the paper. Samples of the liver, kidney, intestine and lung were analysed for metals and As content, and samples of the lung, liver, kidney, stomach, intestine and bone marrow--for diatoms presence. The analysis for metals and As was performed by atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). Before the analysis, the samples were wet digested by the classic and microwave assisted method. The analysis did not result in detecting the presence of As, Co, Ni, and Tl in any of the studied materials, while Hg was not revealed in the liver, intestines and lung and Pb in the intestines and lung. The content of Ba, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Sr and Zn in all the studied materials, Hg in the kidney, and Pb in the liver and kidney did not indicate poisoning by the above-mentioned metals or arsenic. No diatoms were found in the studied materials.
    Archiwum medycyny sa̧dowej i kryminologii 01/2009; 59(1):41-5.
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    Zuzanna Brozek-Mucha
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    ABSTRACT: Examinations of various features of gunshot residue (GSR) collected from targets in a function of the shooting distance as well as from hands and the forearm, front and back parts of the upper clothing of the shooting person were performed with SEM-EDX. GSR samples were obtained using Walther P-99 pistol and Luger 9 mm ammunition of Polish production. The experiments were designed in such a manner that the substrates for collecting GSR reminded the ones usually obtained for examinations within criminal cases. Results of the performed examinations in the form of parameters describing GSR particles: the number of GSR, proportions of their chemical classes as well as their sizes revealed a dependence on the shooting distance both, in the direction of shooting and backwards, i.e. on the shooting person. The analysis of the distribution of particles in the vicinity of the shooting gun may be utilised in description of the general rules of the dispersion of GSR as well as in the reconstruction of a real shooting case.
    Forensic Science International 12/2008; 183(1-3):33-44. · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    Zuzanna Brożek-Mucha
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    ABSTRACT: Thirty-five experiments were carried out, breaking various kinds of multiple-glazed windows (ordinary, toughened and laminated) simulating a break-in or an act of vandalism, in order to obtain a set of data on the persistence of glass micro-traces on the clothing of people taking part in such an activity. The recovered glass fragments were analysed by means of scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry. The number of glass fragments recovered from the clothing of the breaker and the accompanying persons depended on the distance of a person from the window pane, the time between the incident and securing the clothing for examination, the retentive properties of the clothing, and the kind of window panes. An empirical study on background levels of glass on clothing, as well as secondary transfer, was also carried out. Results of the study of glass found at random showed that most of the clothing was free from glass fragments. The experiments simulating break-ins or vandalism provided important information that will contribute to a reliable interpretation of the analytical results of examinations of glass as evidence. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    X-Ray Spectrometry 11/2008; 38(1):58 - 67. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    Zuzanna Brożek-Mucha
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    ABSTRACT: A comparative study of the properties of gunshot residue (GSR) collected from shooter's hands and from inside the case of the same cartridge used in a shooting experiment was performed. Three types of popular Luger 9 mm ammunition were chosen with primer mixtures based on different types of detonators: mercury fulminate, lead styphnate or lead azide and an organic one, e.g. diazodinitrophenol. Two modifications of lead-free ammunition, with copper and tin plated projectiles were used. Samples of GSR were examined by means of scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry. Both, similarities and differences in the chemical composition and morphology of GSR secured from the hands of the shooting person and from the appropriate cartridge case were observed. The chemical composition of the characteristic gunshot particles originating from the primer may be influenced by the chemical composition of other parts of the cartridge case, especially the core and the jacket of the projectile. Thus, the distribution of the chemical elements in GSR strongly depends on the direction of the reaction path starting in the primer cup placed at the bottom of the cartridge case, moving along the cartridge case and finishing when the projectile leaves the gun muzzle. A reliable comparison of the airborne residue to these taken from cartridge case for forensic purposes requires some experience based on laboratory experiments performed under controlled conditions. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    X-Ray Spectrometry 10/2007; 36(6):398 - 407. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    Spectrochimica Acta Part B Atomic Spectroscopy 01/2007; 62:1028 – 1036. · 3.14 Impact Factor
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    Zuzanna Brozek-Mucha, Grzegorz Zadora
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    ABSTRACT: An attempt was made to build a classification scheme for gunshot residues (GSR) samples originating from four types of ammunition, collected from shooters' hands immediately after shooting. The secured material was examined with the use of SEM-EDX method in the automatic manner. The obtained results were expressed as frequencies of occurrence of particles assigned to various chemical classes. In order to establish the most discriminative of these features the Mann-Whitney test was performed. Cluster analysis was performed for grouping the analysed samples according to their origin, i.e. the type of ammunition. It has been found that samples of GSR originating from Browning 7.65 mm and Luger 9 mm ammunition can be fairly easy differentiated from the remaining samples, whereas samples of GSR originating from of Makarov 9 mm and these of Tokarev 7.62 mm could not be differentiated using frequencies of occurrence of particles in the selected chemical classes.
    Forensic Science International 09/2003; 135(2):97-104. · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    Z Brózek-Mucha, G Zadora, F Dane
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    ABSTRACT: Following previous work on differentiation between gunshot residue according to the type of ammunition used, a specific investigation was undertaken of traces originating from 9 mm Luger ammunition using SEM-EDX. The aim of this study was to determine whether GSR originating from this type of ammunition is similar, or whether differentiation could be made between particular manufacturers of Luger ammunition. The results were collected in the form of counts of particles in each of seven key elemental classes being combinations of lead, antimony and barium. These were then adjusted to a factor known as frequency of occurrence which allows comparison of the distribution of particles within the classes between samples with differences in absolute particle counts. The relationships between the samples were examined using non-parametric statistical tests: R-Spearman and tau-Kendall rank correlation coefficients. It has been found that most of the studied samples of GSR were similar to each other despite their originating from various manufacturers.
    Science & Justice 04/2003; 43(4):229-35. · 1.15 Impact Factor
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    Zadora G, Brożek-Mucha Z
    Materials Chemistry and Physics 01/2003; 81:345-348. · 2.07 Impact Factor
  • Brożek-Mucha Z
    Forensic Science International 01/2003; 136:156. · 2.31 Impact Factor
  • Zadora G, Brożek-Mucha Z, J. Zięba-Palus
    Forensic Science International 01/2003; 136(1):359 - 360. · 2.31 Impact Factor
  • Zadora G, Brożek-Mucha Z, A. Parczewski
    Forensic Science International 01/2003; 136(1):359. · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    Z Brozek-Mucha, A Jankowicz
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    ABSTRACT: Gunshot residues originating from six types of pistol ammunition were studied. Six persons who normally have no contact with weapons fired three times, each person from a different pistol. Samples of gunshot residues were collected from the shooters' hands using aluminium stubs with black carbon adhesive tabs and subjected to examinations of their morphology and elemental content by means of a scanning electron microscope with an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer in an automatic manner. In a comparative study of the samples, only primer residues were taken into account. The frequency of occurrence of particles representing a certain chemical class against the total number of detected particles was expressed as a percentage. Mutual relations between the frequencies of occurrence of the residues of particular chemical content were found to be different for most of the studied ammunition types using a non-statistical approach--and by means of non-parametric statistical methods (R-Spearman and tau-Kendall correlation coefficients), it was possible to differentiate one ammunition type from each of the other ammunition types examined. The performed examinations have revealed some differences in the frequencies of occurrence of certain chemical classes of primer residues, observed for various types of ammunition. These differences could constitute a valuable contribution to group identifications of ammunition made on the basis of physical and chemical examinations of gunshot residues.
    Forensic Science International 12/2001; 123(1):39-47. · 2.31 Impact Factor

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