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The impact of anatomy variation on temperature based time of death estimation

  • Temperature-based time of death estimation (TTDE) using simulation methods such as the finite element (FE) method promises higher accuracy and broader applicability in nonstandard cooling scenarios than established phenomenological methods. Their accuracy depends crucially on the simulation model to capture the actual situation. The model fidelity in turn hinges on the representation of the corpse’s anatomy in form of computational meshes as well as on the thermodynamic parameters. While inaccuracies in anatomy representation due to coarse mesh resolution are known to have a minor impact on the estimated time of death, the sensitivity with respect to larger differences in the anatomy has so far not been studied. We assess this sensitivity by comparing four independently generated and vastly different anatomical models in terms of the estimated time of death in an identical cooling scenario. In order to isolate the impact of shape variation, the models are scaled to a reference size, and the possible impact of measurement location variation is excluded explicitly, which gives a lower bound on the impact of anatomy on the estimated time of death.
Author:Julia Ullrich, Martin WeiserORCiD, Jayant Subramaniam, Sebastian Schenkl, Holger Muggenthaler, Michael Hubig, Gita Mall
Document Type:Article
Parent Title (English):International Journal of Legal Medicine
First Page:1615
Last Page:1627
Year of first publication:2023
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