Updated at 18:20 Wed – see my email reply to Hugh Farey at the end.
I made a brief mention of linen fibre nodes, aka dislocations, in a recent post.
It is those dislocations that give linen threads their distinctive “bamboo-like” appearance under the microscope (not seen with cotton). Actually, they put me more in mind of miniature drainpipes with those “jointing sections” (see SEM photograph). Well, I’ve just scorched some linen, trained a newly acquired microscope* onto the surface, and guess what? It would appear that those nodes take a much denser coloration than the region of fibre between the nodes. (see below).
*It links directly to the laptop via a USB lead so that everything is viewable on screen – no squinting into eyepieces …
If this were a ‘signature’ of scorching, so to speak, then maybe we have a sure-fire means at last of assessing whether the image of the Man on the Shroud is akin to a heat scorch or there again, maybe not. (Though it’s worth pointing out that STURP researchers and some authenticists have acknowledged the similarity between the body image and a heat scorch, by spectral means or by simple ‘eye-balling’, even if most continue to scoff at any suggestion of the TS being a medieval forgery).
There is still much to do, and much to discuss, but I thought I’d waste no time in putting folks in the picture re this totally unexpected little discovery (this blog being essentially a hour-by-hour, day by day progress report.
Don’t be surprised to see extra bits tacked onto this post in the coming hours and days. Comments welcome.
Here are three screen grabs showing the result of focusing in-and-out on the same region of scorched fibres bordering a weave interstice, i.e. where a warp thread interweaves with weft – the “hole” being the bright area that lets through back-lighting (with the top-lamp too for surface illumination).
Note: this a heavily-scorched imprint. The next step is to check out lighter scorches at the limits of visibility.
Btw: observe the odd whisker or two that dangles out from the fibre? I have a
theory hunch about those whiskers. They are the result of a tearing effect caused when the hot template is removed from the linen (the template initially fusing with/sticking onto the PCW at points of contact then serving as an anchor point for stripping). Might it be that elusive gossamer-thin PCW (primary cell wall) that has peeled away? Yep, a bit of a long shot…
Might heavy localised scorching of the nodes relative to the PCW be the cause of the curious half-tone pixel-like effect reported for the TS image? Now there’s a thought to conjure with…
Update: here are screen grabs from the second lightest scorch in today’s series. Again, the uneven distribution of colour along the fibre is noticeable, maybe with a little more difficulty than with a heavier scorch, and with some ambiguous fibres where the segmented appearance due to differential coloration between nodes and internodal region is perhaps not quite so clear cut, especially on the last of the three (but that may reflect slight inequalities in illumination and focusing). These are early days…
Final instalment: first, here’s the scorched linen (100% as per label) from which the two sample were taken (A and B).
It’s now time to try for the pièce de résistance – namely that final, faintest scorch labelled C.
Caveat: one cannot take any field at random, and expect to see clear segmentation every time. But it’s rare to see a field that might be used to argue for homogeneous distribution of colour, and there’s usually a hint in most instances of the banding effect. As I said earlier, ambiguous fields may be due to the difficulty in focusing on what is essentially a 3D subject, given there is no cover slip to flatten the specimen. I may try dropping a cover slip on top, or maybe something heavier like a second slide, so as to compress the fabric.
Now then, who knows of a good high-definition picture of the TS body image, one that shows not just the weave, not just the threads, not just the elementary fibres but the NODES as well? (How come one has to ask that question given the TS is said to be the most intensively-studied artefact in history? Shouldn’t an HD close-up view of its weave – as seen under a microscope – be as easily available off the internet as a picture of the Pope, the Vatican or Turin Cathedral? Have the custodians never heard the expression “putting something under the microscope” as an essential first step?
Update: 18:20 Wed
Have just received an interesting email from Hugh Farey. I won’t post it here unless/until he gives the go-ahead, but in the meatime here is my reply:
Pleased to see as usual there is someone else who takes nobody’s word for anything.Suppose that Rogers was looking at the wrong part of the fibre – the PCW/impurity layer – take your pick – and was peeling off a thin coloured layer that was in fact too thin to be properly seen or measured and too thin to carry a credible image? Suppose however that the real image receiving layer is not any kind of superficial surface coating, including the PCW (end of love affair) but those annular (?) nodes that encircle/girdle the fibre hundreds of times per cell? I say annular because we know they do not obstruct the internal fibrils which can be centimetres long. Has everyone been looking in the wrong place. Is it the nodes that are the site of most of the image capture? I’ve just looked at the Mark Evans photomicrographs of Shroud image fibres in Thibault’s scorch pdf paper. Annoyingly they are at a magnification that is just too small to see nodes clearly, but if I’m not mistaken there is a patchy colour distribution that might suggest the nodes have most of the colour. The might explain some curious features of the Shroud image, notably the half-tone effect. We live in interesting times.