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Division: C – High School

NC Essential Standards Alignment: Chm.3.1, Chm.3.2, Science as Inquiry

Event Rules: See National Rules

Event Score Sheet: None

National Event Page: Here

Required Materials: Participants must wear goggles, an apron or a lab coat and have skin covered from the neck down to the wrist and toes. Gloves are optional, but if a host requires a specific type, they must notify teams. Pants should be loose fitting; if the host has more specific guidelines they will notify teams in advance of the tournament. Long hair, shoulder length or longer, must be tied back. Participants who unsafely remove their safety clothing/goggles or are observed handling any of the material or equipment in an unsafe manner will be penalized or disqualified from the event.



NC Regional and State tournaments will only will be focusing on:
o Qualitative Analysis
o Polymer Testing: plastics
o Paper Chromatography
o Crime Scene Physical Evidence:

  • Regionals will feature 2-3 out the following topics: fingerprints, glass analysis, seeds and pollen, tracks and soil, and bullet striations.
  • State will feature 3-4 out of the following topics: fingerprints, glass analysis, seeds and pollen, tracks and soil, and bullet striations.

Additional questions may be asked on general lab safety and procedure and
chemical and physical properties and common uses of the substances in
parts 3c and 3d.

The chemistry events now say the reference sheets MAY be sealed in a sheet protector or laminated. Do they have to be?

No, The difference between MAY and MUST is a big one in Olympiad.  Since this set of rules says “MAY be in a sheet protector”  – it means that it doesn’t have to be, but it is allowed if you want to use one. However, if the reference sheets are in sheet protectors, then the reference sheets MUST REMAIN in the sheet protectors. In addition, no additional notes or information may be written on the sheet protectors or laminated reference sheets.

For the Chemistry events, it states that teams may bring any or all of the items listed – are teams only permitted to have the checked items in their kits?  Or, may they have all items on the list even if they are not checked.
Teams may bring anything on the list whether it is checked or not.  The list is to help teams pare down the list a bit.

The rules 2a are written for each participant. Therefore, a team of 1 participant can only have one reference sheet. A team of 2 participants can have two reference sheets and two non- programmable, non-graphing calculators. The rules in 2b are written per team. Therefore, a team 1 participant and a team of 2 participants may use up to two calculators of any type.


This is a Lab based event. Teams will be given a crime scenario which they will be asked to solve based on evidence they gather and test.  Teams will then be asked to analyze the information they have gathered to identify a suspect and solve the crime.

Event Leaders will provide a proper lab environment, all evidence to be collected, additional equipment necessary to perform tests on the evidence, the official test and answer sheet.


High score wins. Points are earned for proper identification of evidence as well as analysis of the crime.


1/12/23: Will students be required to run flame tests?

There will be no hands-on flame testing of the solids or plastics. However, flame test results, either pictures or written descriptions, will be provided. You will need to know how to use these descriptions of flame test results to identify the solids and the plastics.

Will blood typing be included?

There will be no questions about blood typing testing this year.

Will hair and fibers be included?

Hair and fibers are not being tested this year at NC Regionals or State Tournaments. The only testing topic under polymers would be the plastics.

Will we need to know mass spectra in addition to paper chromatography?

The Mass Spec would NOT be fair game at regional tournaments. We are still undecided about state tournament, but will issue a clarification when we are developing the state tournament test.


Be sure to follow all safety requirements! Students will not be allowed to participate without the proper safety equipment.

– Event leaders will not answer questions on testing procedures (for example- how to perform a burn test on fibers) nor will they provide a copy of the rules or a list of the possible unknowns. Teams should already know procedure, and should include a list of the possible unknowns in their allowed notes if they cannot remember. Event leaders WILL answer safety questions, and stop students from performing a test in an unsafe manner.

Event Resources:

Forensics 2018 Coaches Clinic Presentation (2019 Rules)

Powder Analysis blank chart
Sample Forensics Flowchart
2017 Coaches Clinic Presentation

General sites on Forensics and Crime Busters
Real World—Articles on aspects of crime scene data collection
Links to forensic activities for students

Polymers and Fibers:
Microscopic Images of Fibers—search for the types of fibers and select the kind of microscopic technique for the image you want.
Animal Hair Images

Intro to Chromatography
Tutorial on Interpreting Mass Spectra
Basic info Mass spectroscopy

Blood Information:
Electropherogram info

Shoe and Tire Prints
Lab activity on shoe and tire prints

Sample Events:



How to do a Fiber Burn Test
How to identify polymers
How to perform Powder tests
More Powder tests
Teamwork is the key to this event!