dstates points out a recent article from guardian.co.uk which discusses a new method by which to recover fingerprints from metal. The method relies on corrosion caused by sweat and other biological residues
on the metal's surface. Quoting:
"The patterns of corrosion remain even after the surface has been cleaned, heated to 600C or even painted over. This means that traces of fingerprints stay on the metal long after the residue from a person's finger has gone. The chemical basis of the change is not yet clear, but [Dr. John Bond] believes it is corrosion by chloride ions from the salt in sweat. These produce lines of corrosion along the ridges of the fingerprint residue. When the metal is heated, for example in a bomb blast or when a gun is fired, the chemical reaction actually speeds up and makes the corrosion more pronounced."