Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry

Degree Level



Chemistry & Biochemistry


Stites, Wesley

Committee Member/Reader

Chen, Jingyi

Committee Member/Second Reader

Kral, Timothy

Committee Member/Third Reader

Lessner, Faith


Super glue, or ethyl cyanoacrylate, fuming is commonly used in forensic science to develop latent fingerprints on nonporous surfaces[7]. Fingerprints are primarily made up of the oily substance secreted by sebaceous glands better known as sebum. Previously it has been shown that exposure of fingerprints to diisopropylamine dramatically increases the deposition of cyanoacrylate polymers on the fingerprints[1]. However, the heterogeneity of any series of real fingerprints made it difficult to quantitatively assess this effect. This heterogeneity includes not just the amount of sebum but the presence of unknown amounts of proteins, amino acids, and other potential nucleophiles which catalyze the polymerization along with the diisopropylamine pretreatment. Therefore, a defined amount of artificial sebum was applied in a uniform layer in a circular aluminum weigh boat and fumed with and without diisopropylamine pretreatment. Pretreatment with diisopropylamine showed an approximately 50% increase in the deposition of cyanoacrylate, in remarkable agreement with results on real fingerprints[1]. The calculation reveals that the layer of cyanoacrylate deposited is approximately three to four thousand monomers thick on untreated sebum and increases to four to six thousand monomers when pretreated with diisopropylamine.


biochemistry, fingerprints, superglue, cyanoacrylate, fuming