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News Picks : Neutron beams used to study chemical changes in burnt bone

By: Physics Today
16 November 2015

BBC: When bones are burned, the crystalline structure of the calcium material changes, which causes the bones to shrink and makes it harder to determine the age, gender, and size of the individual they came from. To study those changes, David Gonçalves and Maria Marques of the University of Coimbra, Portugal, and their colleagues have used neutron scattering at a neutron beam facility in the UK. By comparing unburnt samples of bones with samples burnt at various temperatures, they hope to provide a better understanding of how bones change as they are exposed to extreme heat. Such information could lead to new ways for forensic scientists, archaeologists, and potentially even paleontologists to analyze human and animal remains.

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