Temperature-based Estimation of Time of Death in Forensic Medicine
Foundation for the virtual corpse is a CT scan. The segmentation of the CT volume is performed using the ZIBAmira software.
In result, distinct tissues of the human body are represented by 3D volume elements. The volume segmentation is used to generate a tetrahedral grid - the virtual corpse.
By individualizing the virtual corpse in size and posture with respect to a real corpse, it will serve as template for numerical computation of the cooling process described by the heat transfer equation.
- know all the parameters in the heat transfer equation,
- have an accurate approximation of the geometry of the corpse,
- know the initial temperature distribution and the environmental temperature
then we can compute the evolution of cooling with high precision in every point in the corpse.
Having a measurement of the temperature in some point of the body, we could use the result of calculation to determine the time passed since death using the curve of temperature evolution in that point:
Unfortunately, the parameters in the heat transfer equation for a corpse are usually not exactly known. In order to identify the most influential parameters, we compute the sensitivities, i.e., the partial derivatives of estimated time of death with respect to thermal tissue parameters (like heat capacity C, conductivity k, or heat transfer coefficient h). Thereby, we see that the tissues fat, muscle, and bone have the most significant influence on time of death, certainly due to their dominant volumes.
|Sebastian Schenkl, Holger Muggenthaler, Michael Hubig, Bodo Erdmann, Martin Weiser, Stefan Zachow, Andreas Heinrich, Felix Victor Güttler, Ulf Teichgräber, Gita Mall||Automatic CT based Finite Element Model Generation for Temperature based Death Time Estimation: Feasibility Study and Sensitivity Analysis||International Journal of Legal Medicine, 2017||
|Yvonne Freytag||Optimal Experimental Design to Estimate the Time of Death in a Bayesian Context||ZIB-Report 17-14||