Serial number restoration on polymer surfaces: A survey of recent literature

Uysal S., Mercan M., UZUN L.

FORENSIC CHEMISTRY, vol.20, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.forc.2020.100267
  • Title of Journal : FORENSIC CHEMISTRY


Polymers are increasingly preferred for the production of weapon parts due to their lightness, resistance to corrosion, heat tolerance and quite reasonable production cost. This increase will likely lead to a rise in the obliteration of serial numbers, which are imprinted on the polymer components of vehicles and firearms. However, compared to metals, the recovery process and the restoration procedures do not seem to be well documented for polymers. Since serial numbers, together with the proof marks and wording related to the brand, model, caliber or manufacturer information, can be regarded as unique in identifying and tracing the vehicles and firearms, the restoration of these alphanumeric codes is vital in determining the items' origin and owner. Best to our knowledge this is the first review examining the conventional and the recently developed serial number restoration techniques applied on polymer surfaces. This review endeavoured to examine the empirical studies related to serial number restoration on polymers both to demonstrate the scope and evolution of restoration efforts and to give insight into the mechanisms of revisualization and the impact of polymer composition on numbering, obliteration and restoration. The findings indicate that parameters like polymer type, numbering style, obliteration method and techniques used in the restoration process affect the recovery. The findings also suggest that there is an increase in the number of studies applying non-destructive screening techniques for restoration purposes. This review contributes to the literature by outlining the empirical studies and proposing likely avenues for prospective research on restoration techniques which are importantboth for the forensic marks examination and criminal investigations.