Master of Arts (MA)
Geography and Anthropology
Maceration is often a necessary component when working on a forensic case. Since it is not very common to get a case with fully skeletonized remains, the soft tissue must be removed for the forensic anthropologist to start their assessment. There are varying maceration techniques, but the goal is the same: to remove the soft tissue without damaging the bone The main purpose of my research is to examine a common household chemical, Drano® Max Gel, to determine its effectiveness for maceration. I tested two diluted solutions of Drano® Max Gel, 25% and 12.5%, both heated and unheated, to determine which concentration and temperature could remove the soft tissue without damaging the bone. The results indicate that unheated solutions are not effective for maceration; tissue did not dissolve and, instead, became more difficult to remove. Both heated solutions were effective at removing tissue; however, bones macerated in the 25% solution showed more cortical damage than those macerated in the 12.5% solution. This research could be the starting point in developing a new maceration technique that is not only safe for bone, but is also effective and works quickly. Continued research using Drano® Max Gel can help create a better understanding of the chemical, its effect on bone, and its potential use for maceration in a forensic context.
Document Availability at the Time of Submission
Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.
Wyatt, Sara O'Neil, "A Study of the Effectiveness of a Common Household Chemical for Maceration" (2015). LSU Master's Theses. 3571.