Integrating spectrophotometric and XRD analyses in the investigation of burned dental remains

Rabiah A. Rahmat, Melissa A. Humphries, Jeremy J. Austin, Adrian M.T. Linacre, Mark Raven, Peter Self

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Heat alters colour and crystallinity of teeth by destruction of the organic content and inducing hydroxyapatite crystal growth. The colour and crystallite changes can be quantified using spectrophotometric and x-ray diffraction analyses, however these analyses are not commonly used in combination to evaluate burned dental remains. In this study, thirty-nine teeth were incinerated at 300–1000 °C for 15 and 30 min and then measured using a spectrophotometer and an x-ray diffractometer. Response variables used were lightness, L*, and chromaticity a* and b* and luminance (whiteness and yellowness) for colour, and crystal size for crystallinity. Statistical analysis to determine the attribution of these variables revealed yellowness and crystal size were significantly affected by temperature (p < 0.05), whilst duration of heat-exposure showed no significant effect. This study suggests the inclusion of both spectrophotometric and x-ray diffraction in investigating thermal-heated teeth is useful to accurately estimate the temperature teeth are exposed to.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110236
Number of pages9
JournalForensic Science International
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Burned teeth
  • Colour measurement
  • Heat treatment
  • Hydroxyapatite
  • Spectrophotometer
  • X-ray diffraction


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