Fibers Under the Microscope

It’s a lot of fun to check out any little piece of lint or fiber you find. This is an important part of forensic research. Here are some fibers I’ve sampled.

Let’s start with my silk tie!

Above when seen at 70x magnification. Silk from one of my ties. Note the paint or ink that was used to color the pattern.

(Two silk worms were in a race, however, they ended up in a tie.)

Silk fibers in woven section of the tie above, and separated below. These are the white fibers, in crossed polarization. Magnification approx 100x above, and 250x below. Combination of 4 photos using Helicon Focus stacking software.

Dental Floss- mint flavored. 70X magnification

A piece of white nylon mesh. The tied pattern is undetectable with the naked eye. 70 X magnification

Same nylon mesh as above, 28x with polarized light

Red nylon mesh. Different knotting pattern. 70 X magnification

Fiberglass 70 X magnification

This wire is .0005 in. in diameter. It is a fine industrial wire used in the electronics industry. Shown at 28X it is about 1/3 the thickness of human hair.

Same wire as above ( .0005 in.) Shown at 70X magnification

Kevlar 70X magnification and Rheinberg illumination

This springlike fiber is found when a leaf from the Amazon River area was pulled apart. Springlike fibers seem to hold the leaf’s structure in place. Magnification 70x, using 100x phase contrast stop for darkfield effect.

This is a piece of fishing line “leader” used in fly fishing. The magnification is 100x, and the lighting is from the top, using simple white LED lights to show the actual color of the line.

This is the same piece of fishing line “leader” shown above. The magnification is 100x, and the lighting, however is using colored LED lights, placed around the specimen, with a green filter lighted from below.

The above fibers from the purported mummy cloth appear to be flax. This might be consistent with ancient Egyptian burial materials. Photo in crossed polarizers using plastic interference filter for colors. Magnification approx 250x.

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