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Crime Scene Investigation – Permabond Cyanoacrylate for Fingerprinting

One of the more interesting applications Permabond supplies adhesive for is the field of Crime Scene Investigation. Cyanoacrylate adhesive is an important tool in the fight against crime as it can be used to make latent fingerprints visible for photographing and identification.  There are three types of fingerprints: visible, impression and latent. The first two are easily photographed under correct lighting conditions but the third, latent prints, are not visible. 

Cyanoacrylate adhesives cure by reacting with microscopic moisture traces present on virtually all surfaces. Most industrial cyanoacrylate users do not like the white “blooming” effect often caused by cyanoacrylate adhesives, residue can be particularly visible on dark coloured surfaces or parts which have been handled a lot. This has prompted the development of alkoxy-ethyl based cyanoacrylates and specialist activators which offer low odour and non-blooming properties.  Conversely, forensic scientists consider the high-fuming / low boiling point cyanoacrylates to be most valuable in their investigative activities.

How to make latent prints visible with Permabond cyanoacrylate:

  1. Construct a suitable gassing chamber – e.g. a basic wooden framework with clear PVC plastic sheeting taped round it. Alternatively a suitably sized glass jar could be used.
  2. Place item to be fingerprinted inside the chamber.
  3. Introduce a bowl of hot water (this will increase the humidity in the chamber).
  4. Add a separate dish containing a few drops of cyanoacrylate– Permabond CPP621 high fume grade has been specially developed to offer high “bloom” and a speedy process time.
  5. Make sure the chamber is taped shut.
  6. Development time can take from 5 to 30 minutes.
  7. Remove item, you should be able to see a small amount of white residue on the fingerprints.
  8. You can now dust with a coloured fingerprinting powder ready for transfer onto fingerprinting tape (prints can normally be transferred several times) and then mounted on record cards for photographing and archive evidence.

For more details about Permabond CPP621 specialist fingerprinting grade, please contact our technical team at

Fingerprint CA