Forensics age dating ink

Electrostatic detection An ESDA can be useful when attempting to date a document as it may bear impressions from other documents that give a clue as to the date on which it was written or provide a range of dates.

Accuracy It has been said that document dating is one of the most difficult problems in forensic science given the great variety of inks, the chemical processes involved as ink ages, and external factors.

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Some of the commonly used colourants in inks decompose gradually when exposed to light and some even in the dark due to oxidisation.

This leads to the position that to be able to determine when writing was made it is necessary to know whether the ink is still ageing and how it ages; this can be achieved by heating.

Once the age at which ink becomes completely dry (that is, it stops ageing) is known it is possible to estimate a date (albeit imprecise) for its deposit.

Whether such tags occur in ballpoint pens available generally in Australia is not known.

It is possible to determine, as an estimate, the relative age of inks of the same formula when they have been written on the same type of paper and held under the same storage conditions.

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