Here is a schematic representation of the arrow of time – and with it entropy – operating at the thread level in the Shroud (see previous posting for likely changes at the individual fibre level).
OK – much simplified. It’s reckoned there are something like 200 retted bast fibres in each of the Shroud’s linen threads. Will try and track down the reference.
If one imagines the first diagram to represent a new scorched-on imprint, say from a heated metal template, possibly/probably a bronze statue and/or bas relief to represent a cruelly- tortured man (Knight Templar*?) – one who could be mistaken for the crucified Jesus (especially after judicious applications of blood) and the last in the series above to represent how it might look after centuries of mechanical and/or other attrition – read wear-and-tear – then one has a ready explanation for some of the peculiar properties of the Shroud image. (You know, the ones that are routinely
trotted out reeled off by ‘sindonologists’ as evidence for how the Shroud image “cannot possibly be a scorch”).
Changes in the image at the individual fibre level were the subject of the preceding post, and the posting before that warned of a peculiar optical illusion operating at the fabric level in (what I dubbed the BROIL mirage – due to Back Radiation of Incomplete Light). “Incomplete” was a sciency way of saying “coloured” that made for a questionably better acronym. Ouch.
I’ll be back later to list some of those peculiarities, ones that I say are as much a reflection of plain-old entropy as of original thermal imprinting technology. The latter was no doubt “branding iron”- inspired, dreamed up by an imaginative medieval artisan, possibly a blacksmith with a mischievous and devil-may-care streak.
Oh, and I’ll have to add an extra diagram to represent the way the so-called half-tone effect gives a more intense image despite having end-stage pale yellow fibres only. Those more closely-spaced fibres would have originally been underneath a more highly scorched first stage.
* See my recently updated manicured and brushed-up idea ( pretty pictures as well!)
Light scorch to begin with. After ageing and associated fibre fracture and detachment, there remain only thinly dispersed yellow fibres in the top surface. Result: faint half-tone image.
Heavy scorch to begin with After ageing and more extensive fibre fracture/detachment, there are still many yellow fibres in the top surface. Result: a more intense half-tone image than above.
Afterthought: while I’ve said that this posting is addressed to events at the thread level, please note that there’s no suggestion that whole threads break off. It’s the more superficial, highly-scorched fibres of crown threads in the weave in immediate contact with the heated template OR IMMEDIATELY ADJACENT TO THEM that break off over time.
So what are those subtle and/or peculiar features of the Shroud image that are attributed to a unique 1st century event in a Palestine rock tomb, but which I say are more likely due to a combination of contact scorching followed by centuries of gentle, slow motion disintegration?
1. Ultra-superficiality at the individual fibre level, i.e. the alleged 200nm image thickness, is explained. Many fibres initially had thicker image layers, due to the zone of pyrolysis extending deeper into the core than the PCW. But those heavily scorched fibres, being mechanically compromised, have broken off over the centuries, leaving just those with highly superficial scorching with relatively unimpaired mechanical strength.
2. The ‘half-tone’ effect (always tricky to explain, whichever proposed mechanism (radiation, conduction, convection) is invoked – why should coloured fibres have immediate neighbours that are uncoloured?).
Attrition explains the half tone effect. Any fibre that has more than a certain degree of colour from scorching has broken off, leaving just the minimally coloured fibres, probably with scorching restricted to the hemicelluloses of the PCW.
3. Image fibres are weaker than non-image fibres, demonstrated by the fact that they were easier to strip off with Rogers’ sticky tape in the flying ’78 STURP visit.
4. Attrition might be one reason why Shroud image fibres are non-fluorescent under uv light, if it were supposed that fluorescence was conferred by chemical changes occurring at temperatures above those needed for superficial scorching only. But I think there are other, better reasons for explaining lack of fluorescence that have been set out previously on this site. Briefly, unless one knows the precise chemical nature of the fluorescent species – their volatility, their proneness to oxidation, polymerization etc – then I personally do not see why lack of fluorescence centuries after the initial image-forming process can be held as a serious objection to any proposed mechanism of image formation.Fluophores are usually low MWt substances with plenty of conjugated double bonds. It would be a remarkable fluophore that would survive in fabric for centuries. (Yes, I know the 1532 ‘scorch marks’ still fluoresce, but they are not just surface “scorches” – they are the margins of full-thickness burn holes, and have been far more heavily pyrolysed).
5. I don’t pretend to understand the ‘stochastic processes’ that G.Fazio and his colleagues say were necessary to obtain discrimination between image and background colour, nor the reason why that then requires a latency period of some decades for full image development. What I do know is there you will not find a single reference to post-production degradation of the image in the link to that 2013 paper above. One wonders whether the random factors that operate in degradation have been conflated with those that he imagines operate in the latency period. Mechanisms of image formation will always be somewhat conjectural. There is nothing conjectural about the phenomenon of age-related decay. I have only to look in the mirror to be reminded of that. No doubt the distribution of age spots and wrinkles would also fit a ‘stochstic model’ with a long latency period.
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