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Blood Spatter Trigonometry

By: Nicole Fuls

Advantages of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (BPA):

Determine where victim was originally injured Determine type of weapon used Number of blows on the body

Forensic Science

BPA used in crime scene investigation

Reconstructing the Scene

Angle of Impact Area/Point of Convergence Area of Origin

Angle of Impact:
If the blood was dropped by a 90 angle, the stain will appear to be an almost perfect circle. However, blood can be impacted at any angle. This angle can be determined by simple trigonometry. The greater the angle, the more spherical the droplet.

Angle of Impact:

However, in order to determine the exact angle at which the blood impacted the surface, we must use: Sin= width of drop/length of drop

Point/Area of Convergence:
The point of convergence is a two dimensional representation of the bloodstain paths. In order to find this, simply draw lines through the axes of the different blood spots and trace them back until there is a point where the different lines meet.

To calculate the area of origin, we must measure the distance (D) from the back-end of the blood stain to the area of convergence previously calculated. Then, for the same drop of blood, compute the distance from the area of convergence on the surface to the area of origin (H). Then, using the angle of impact previously recorded, we can use another equation to find H.

Point of Origin:
Height above point of convergence length Origin width

Angle of impact = arc sin W/L

Distance from point of convergence

Tan (angle of impact)=H/D





Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Blood Splatter Trigonometry is used almost every day in forensic science. In fact, it is so popularly used that the famous T.V show Numb3rs did an episode using BPA. Check it out! Thanks for watching.