Forensic science is the use of many scientific techniques to solve criminal cases. It is a multidisciplinary field that embraces chemistry, physics, botany, zoology and medicine.(Lafferty and Rowe, 1994) Forensic toxicology, a discipline of forensic science, or drug analysis is the study of toxic substances (drugs) or poisons. It involves identification of substances, how they act, what harmful effects occur and what the symptoms and treatments are.(Kupferschmidt, 2004)
In this experiment we had to use qualitative and quantitative data in the form of pH level, conductivity, reaction with vinegar, general appearance and water mixture observations to identify an unknown drug substance. Popularly the term drug refers to "chemical or plant-derived substances that affect psychological, behavioural or physical functions"(Kupferschmidt, 2004). This leads to varying degrees of addiction. (Kupferschmidt, 2004) The experiment also uses chemical and physical properties, chemical properties are things that cannot be observed other than during a chemical reaction. Physical properties are things you can see without changing the identity of the substance.(NDT, 2011)
The conductivity and pH results were the only two quantitative data, involving the analysis of numerical data. The rest of the tests were qualitative results as they involve the analysis of data including words, pictures or objects. Conductivity is defined as "the ability of a material to conduct or transmit heat, sound and electricity".(Fullon, 2006) The word is mostly used in terms of electricity as materials are described as either being a good or bad conductor of electricity and heat. (Fullon, 2006) pH is an abbreviation of potential of hydrogen. It measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance when that substance is dissolved in water.(Priya, 2006) pH is based on a scale from 0 to 14, a pH of 7 tells us that the substance is neutral, anything below 7 is an acid while anything above 7 is...