Artificial intelligence and thermodynamics help solving arson cases

Sander Korver, Eva Schouten, Othonas A. Moultos, Peter Vergeer, Michiel M.P. Grutters, Leo J.C. Peschier, Thijs J.H. Vlugt, Mahinder Ramdin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


In arson cases, evidence such as DNA or fingerprints is often destroyed. One of the most important evidence modalities left is relating fire accelerants to a suspect. When gasoline is used as accelerant, the aim is to find a strong indication that a gasoline sample from a fire scene is related to a sample of a suspect. Gasoline samples from a fire scene are weathered, which prohibits a straightforward comparison. We combine machine learning, thermodynamic modeling, and quantum mechanics to predict the composition of unweathered gasoline samples starting from weathered ones. Our approach predicts the initial (unweathered) composition of the sixty main components in a weathered gasoline sample, with error bars of ca. 4% when weathered up to 80% w/w. This shows that machine learning is a valuable tool for predicting the initial composition of a weathered gasoline, and thereby relating samples to suspects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20502
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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