Blogs & Videos: Object Conservation

Cross-sectioning fibers

Examining textile fibers in cross-section can yield important information about the source of the fiber.  I've always like working with a paraffin wax embedment on a hand microtome for cross-sectioning fibers, but the process is long, dissolving the wax away is smelly, and you tend to lose some of the cross-sections in the process.  What do you do when you have only a single fiber and you can't afford to lose it, or when you're in a hurry?  In this case, you need some way of securing the fiber so that the sections produced are easy to spot and handle.