Answered By: Regan Brumagen
Last Updated: Jul 19, 2016     Views: 30

It may not be possible to prove that two glass pieces definitely come from the same source.  However, you may be able to disprove that they came from the same source or show that it is possible the pieces came from the same source.  Keep in mind that were the pieces of glass were found/recovered and other factors may bear on such a comparison.

From Dr. Robert Brill, Research Scientist Emeritus:

1.)  Get good "samples" for comparison.  You need a large enough sample to test the two pieces. The minimum size is a weight of 0.2 grams (200 milligrams).  The sample should be about the size of a small fingernail or larger. 

2.)  Clean both samples thoroughly.

3.)  Compare the samples:

  • Compare the color of the two pieces.  Pay special attention to the sample edges (A flat panel of glass appears colorless, but slight impurities in the glass - iron for example - impart a slight color when you look at the edge.) If the colors are the same, it may be worth doing a chemical analysis. 
  • Measure the thickness of the two pieces, on edge, with a micrometer.  Is the thickness of the two pieces similar?

4.)   If the color and thickness are similar, you could pay a lab to do a "complete quantitative chemical analysis" of the glass.  If the chemical analysis is markedly different, the samples are probably not from the same source.  If they are identical, the likihood that the glass samples came from the same source is strong. 


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