Forensic Science Event

Fiber Analysis

Updated on April 1st, 2023
Guidelines PDFScorecard PDFAcceptable Fibers

Competitors will analyze a fiber sample to determine the origin based on microscopic characteristics.They will justify their choice, in a written conclusion, based on cuticle pattern, medulla pattern, pigment distribution, chemical tests and microscopic analysis.The competitor will then conduct analysis on the suspect fiber to match it to a known reference sample. To encourage criminal justice students to demonstrate and improve their ability in properly analyzing and identifying the characteristics of fibers.

Dress Code

Competitors shall wear one of the following uniform types; a uniform consistent with current standards in law enforcement patrol (no duty belt), lab coats (slacks, shirt, shoes (no tennis shoes unless solid black) ), or a jumpsuit.


Team Size
# Competitors per Team
Team Limit
# Teams per Chapter


  • Photo Identification qt. 1

    Reference https://tpsa.info/policies for more information

  • Slide Preparation Materials qt. 1

    (i.e. slides, coverslips, water, etc.)

  • Safety Equipment qt. 1

    (i.e. gloves, metal tweezers or forceps, etc.)

  • Writing utensil qt. 1

    (Blue/ Black inkpen)

  • Blank notebook paper for notes and summaries qt. 1
  • Permanent Marker to mark evidence tape and slides qt. 1


  • Competitors in this event must be active members of the Texas Public Safety Association and in good standing with the Texas Public Safety Association.
  • Competitors must be familiar with and adhere to the Texas Public Safety Association Bylaws and Code of Conduct.
  • Plagiarism, copyright violation and falsification of information are prohibited. Any attempt to gain an unfair advantage will not be tolerated. Violation of the code of conduct or bylaws will result in disqualification and revocation of Texas Public Safety Association membership.
  • The scenario is a secret topic. Professional ethics demand that competitors DO NOT discuss or reveal the secret topic until after the event has concluded. Violation of the ethics rules will result in disqualification and revocation of Texas Public Safety Association membership.
  • This event shall be conducted with the following time restrictions; Instructions: 2 minutes Phase I: 15 minutes Travel between Phase I & II/ Judge Review: 2 minutes Instructions: 2 minutes Phase II: 15 minutes Total Event Time: 36 minutes


  1. Competitor(s)/Team(s) will report to their respective event when called for or at a set reporting time.
  2. Competitor(s)/Team(s) must check in with event management upon arrival and present photo identification for verification.
  3. Competitor(s)/Team(s) will be directed (by room moderator) into the event room.
  4. Each student will be directed (by room moderator) to a workstation with one evidentiary sample package.
    1. To provide a consistent and equal opportunity for all competitors, each team shall be provided the same sample type and quantity. No exceptions to this rule shall be allowed.
  5. The room moderator will provide instructions to the competitors.
  6. The room moderator will set a timer for 15 minutes.
  7. When the moderator starts the timer and calls “start”, each team will:
    1. Open the sample package containing evidence (fibers) for analysis.
    2. Conduct microscopic and chemical analysis on the fiber.
    3. Determine the origin of the fiber.
    4. Repackage evidence.
    5. Write a summary of their findings, detailing the specific characteristics that lead to their conclusion.
    6. Submit findings to judge for review/scoring.
    7. Clean up workstation.
  8. The moderator will call “time” when the 15 minute timer sounds. All competitors must place their hands in the air and back away from their workstations if not finished.
    1. The judge shall check “DNF” on the scoring rubric if a team has not submitted their findings at “time”.
    2. Competitors who receive a “DNF” shall not advance to phase II.
    3. Competitors who have not cleaned their stations will receive a deduction in points on the scoring rubric and will advance to Phase II.
  9. The judge will review the teams summary of findings.
  10. Phase II Procedure Below:
  11. The room moderator will direct the team to a new workstation containing materials for phase II.
  12. The room moderator will provide the team with their sample from phase I.
  13. The room moderator will provide directions for phase II.
  14. The moderator will set a timer for 15 minutes.
  15. The moderator will start the time and announce “start”
  16. Upon the word “start” each team shall:
    1. Compare their “suspect” sample from phase I with 3 provided “known” samples.
    2. The team shall determine which of the “known” samples is a match with the “suspect” sample from Phase I.
    3. The team will prepare a summary of their findings, stating which “known” sample is a match and why.
    4. If the team completes their analysis prior to the call for “time” they may submit their analysis to the moderator and leave the competition area. All analysis documents must be submitted to the moderator prior to the competitors leaving the room.
  17. The moderator will call “time” when the 15 minute timer sounds. All competitors must place their hands in the air and back away from their workstations if not finished. Competitors who do not finish in time will be disqualified.
  18. The moderator will collect all analysis documents from students who have not already submitted their summaries for scoring upon the call of “time”. No documentation or analysis documents shall leave the testing room with a competitor.

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