Grade Level: 5th - 8th; Type: Physical Science
The project is a fun and safe experiment used to develop latent fingerprints on a common retail receipt also known as thermal paper. This technique is a common experiment used by forensic officers throughout the world.
- What is forensic science?
- Why would anyone need to find fingerprints on paper?
- What is thermal paper and where is it used?
- What are amino acids?
- What is Muriatic Acid?
This experiment is a simple and reliable method for detecting fingerprints on a receipt. The results are very magical for students to witness and the experiment can make the student feel like a real, life CSI.
- Muriatic Acid- found at your local hardware store
- Fish tank or clear container
- Receipt from your local store
- The student must run their hand through their hair to obtain natural oil on their fingers.
- The student will then handle a receipt and place it in a covered fish tank or container.
- A small amount of muriatic acid is placed in the tank within another small container.
- After several minutes, the fuming reacts with the amino acids in the oil and the fingerprints appear in a clear, green form!
Take before and after photos to illustrate the experiment much like a real court presentation.
Terms/Concepts: Forensic Science; Muriatic Acid Fuming; Thermal Paper; Amino Acids