FORENSIC INVESTIGATION TECHNIQUES FOR INSPECTING ELECTRICAL CONDUCTORS INVOLVED IN FIRES FOR ARC AND MELT BEADS
Sunderland, Peter B
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The objective of this research was to determine, experimentally, if distinguishing characteristics exist between the beads formed on energized and non-energized wires exposed to various thermal insults. Most of research published in the literature has not tested energized and non-energized wires under the same thermal conditions. The tests in this study were conducted using convective, radiative and combined convective/radiative thermal exposures. Wires were tested in both energized and non-energized states. Energized wires were tested under "load" and "no load" conditions. Beads formed on both the energized and non-energized wires as results of thermal exposure. Beads were analyzed externally and internally with stereo microscope, SEM/EDS, and a metallurgical microscope. No clear trends or distinguishing visual or microscopic characteristics between the beads formed on energized and non-energized wires were found. The bead analysis methods used during this research showed that it is not possible to distinguish between the beads formed on energized and non-energized wires exposed to various thermal insults.