Another guest posting from Yannick Clément (Anyone else want to write a guest posting?):

* * * (I don’t think it could be shorter)

Comment on Gas Diffusion and the Banding Effect


Here’s 5 interesting quotes from Rogers book about the good questioning made by Gabriel the other day concerning the hypothesis of gas diffusion versus the image of the hair on the Shroud :

  1. “Gaseous reactive amines can be lost by diffusion through the porous cloth, reducing concentrations and reaction rates inside the cloth. However, it has long been recognized that the images of the hair, moustache and beard are anomalous. The density of the image is greatest in those areas. That can easily be explained by the inhibition of vapor diffusion through a porous mat of hair. Ammonia is first evolved from the lungs. Therefore, its concentration would have been highest in the vicinity of the nose and mouth, and its diffusion would have been retarded by the moustache and beard. By the time heavy decomposition amines appear, the body will have cooled. The surface area of cloth is large and higher-molecular-weight decomposition amines absorb strongly. All of these phenomena would cause a RAPID REDUCTION IN AMINES CONCENTRATION AWAY FROM THE CONTACT POINTS AND THE NOSE-MOUTH AREA.”
  2. “Most of the very volatile ammonia diffuses out through the nose and mouth soon after death. This fact may explain the darker image color between the nose and the mouth AND THE PENETRATION OF IMAGE COLOR IN THE VICINITY OF THE HAIR.” (Note : Here, Rogers made reference to a possible image of the hair visible on the back side of the cloth).
  3. “The lower density of the hair makes it UNLIKELY that large amounts of either HEAT OR RADIATION WOULD HAVE BEEN PRODUCED IN THE HAIR. This suggests that vapor diffusion was involved in image formation, because any fibrous mat, INCLUDING HAIR, reduces the rate of diffusion of gases. Fiber mats are used for insulation, because they reduce gas diffusion and heat transfer by convection.” (Note : This is a very strong argument from Rogers against any kind of hypothesis involving a burst of energy during the resurrection of Christ. For Rogers, because of it’s very different structure versus a human body, the high quality of the image of the hair would be IMPOSSIBLE to explain if they would have been caused by some kind of heat or radiation. And remember folks that it’s an authentic expert in radiation who said that !).
  4. “When a heavier-than-air foreign gas is diffusing into air in a fibrous mat, the concentration of the gas WILL INCREASE IN THE HAIR. More gas will diffuse through the pores of the cloth in the area of the hair. Such a mechanism would explain why the hair is clearly visible in the image and why it is visible on the back of the cloth. The observation of image color at the location of the hair on the back side of the cloth, strongly suggest that a gas heavier than air was involved in image formation.” (Note : This last observation has not been confirmed yet. There is probably something on the back side of the cloth corresponding to the hair on the front side, but the exact nature of this image still wait to be confirmed. Rogers mentioned this possible image of the hair on the back side of the cloth on the base of a testimony from monsignor Giuseppe Ghiberti that was taken from the report of the 2002 restoration, where he mentioned that the only part of the image that his visible on the back surface of the cloth is the hair (ref. : Rogers book). Fanti and Maggiolo have confirmed this claim in a 2004 paper (along with the image of the moustache and beard and maybe also the hands), but this work has been criticize by many researchers and this question is still left open (especially for the exact nature of those images). Anyway, Rogers estimated that if those images are really there (and at first sight, it seem so, especially for the images of the hair, the beard and the moustache), his personal hypothesis involving a gaseous diffusion through the cloth would be the most likely way to explain them and that’s why he talk about a possible image of the hair on the back side of the cloth).
  5. “The early appearance and rapid diffusion of low-molecular-weight ammonia from the nose and mouth might help explain the greater amount of image color between the nose and mouth, in the beard, AND INTO THE NEIRBY HAIR. It will also diffuse through the cloth more quickly and reach the back side of the cloth in greater concentration. Ammonia will diffuse about 20 cm through air while cadaverine is diffusing only 6 cm.”

From these 5 quotes, if I understand correctly Rogers, I think we can say that, in his mind, there could have been gas trapped in the hair BEFORE they could really react with the impurities at the surface of the cloth, and a good portion of this gas could have originate from the nose-mouth area. Again, if I understand correctly, at first, part of the ammoniac gas coming from the corpse would have moved away (and laterally) from the nose and mouth and would have been trapped in the hair. And then, after some time (Rogers talk about a certain laps of time before the body really cooled down), the diffusion would have become completely vertical. I don’t know if I understand perfectly but that’s my perception of Rogers point of view on the subject.

To conclude this point, I would like to add an important comment : Whether Rogers is correct or not about heavy amines gas (personally, I think it’s very probable that there was at least some ammoniac gas coming out of the nose and mouth from the lungs), we must understand that the parallel (or complementary) hypothesis proposed by Thibault Heimburger in one of his paper could also have taken some part in the image formation process of the body and of the hair. There’s a fairly good possibility that urea (with maybe other biological products like lactic acid) could have been left on the skin and in the hair after the drying of the sweat and could also have created a released of ammoniac gas in the Shroud, especially if the kidneys and/or the liver were injured during the violent scourging (which is truly possible). It should also be noted that a corpse could emit a good quantity of water vapors after death (Marcel Alonso said that these vapors would have a composition pretty much like the sweat) and these water vapors too could have played a role in image formation, whether it was directly, by causing some coloration at the surface of the cloth, and/or indirectly, by serving as a “transportation” agent for some molecules that would have been transferred from the corpse to the surface of the cloth. In this case, we can think of a molecular transfer from lactic acid, possibly present on the skin and in the hair after death, and maybe other molecules related to other biological products. Even the sweat itself, if it wasn’t completely dried at the time the body was put in the Shroud, could have taken part in the image formation process, but this last hypothesis seem highly unlikely on the base of the study of the sudarium of Oviedo that showed that the body was not put in the Shroud very rapidly after death (the researchers concluded that the delay could have been close to 2 hours), leaving well enough time for a complete drying of the sweat. But anyway, in the present state of the researches concerning the Shroud and the sudarium, we have to consider anyway the sweat as another possible reactive product that could have been present on some parts of the skin and in the hair… And if the sudarium of Oviedo is really a face cloth that was used on the man’s face prior to his burial in the Shroud, we can also think that the mixture of a clear liquid and blood that has come out of the nose and mouth (in a 6 for 1 ratio), and that has stained a very good portion of the face, beard, moustache and probably also part of the hair, could also have taken part in the image formation process in the region of the face, including the hair.

Note that the Spanish Team of Sindonologists have been able to conclude that this mixture of liquid, coming from the lungs, had been caused by a pulmonary edema, most probably due to a state of asphyxia, as described by doctor Pierre Barbet in his book “A Doctor At Calvary”. I’ve made some personal researches on the subject and I’ve found that the most likely form of pulmonary edema that could have caused this kind of expulsion of a mixture of clear liquid and blood from the nose and mouth is called “Post-Obstructive Pulmonary Edema” (POPE) by the medical experts. It is formed when there’s a blocking of the airways (that can be partial or total). In the case of a victim of crucifixion, if we trust Barbet’s opinion, this POPE would have been caused by a progressive state of muscular tetany that would eventually have contract the chest muscles so hard that a blocking of the airways of the victim happened… Isn’t it interesting that Jesus could have been killed by a POPE ??? ;-)

As we can see, there’s many biological products that can be released by a dead body who had been tortured for a long time prior to death and it is extremely difficult to determine the most probable “mixture” of these products that could have taken part in the image formation process (simply because we don’t know the exact conditions that were present at the foot of the cross, inside the tomb and inside the Shroud). This shows easily the very probable complexity of the image formation process that could have been active inside the Shroud in order to create the body image. Because of that, I don’t think we will ever found one very simple solution for the body image and I know Rogers would have agree with me on this point… Even if he was defending his own hypothesis of image formation, he was intelligent and honest enough to admit that it is truly possible that other processes (probably chemical too) could have been at work inside the Shroud. In sum, because we know for sure that there was really a tortured and crucified body inside the Shroud, we have to understand that there are many different biological products that could have been present on the skin, in the hair, in the blood and inside the body, and many of these could have been potentially reactive with a thin layer of impurities (or even with the linen fibers themselves). On that base, pretending that absolutely none of them would have played a role in the image formation process is almost anti-scientific and denote a closeness of mind absolutely deplorable !

I’m always amazed to see how certain people in the Shroud world are prompt to reject any possibility of biological products that could have played a role in the image formation process. I think these people forget or neglect one VERY IMPORTANT ASPECT OF THE QUESTION : the corpse that was enveloped in the Shroud was not a “normal” corpse ! It was the corpse of a man that had suffered a very long and excruciating torture prior to his death by crucifixion ! In this very particular context, I think it’s easy to understand that many biological elements (potentially reactive with the cloth) would have been present on the skin, in the hair, in the blood and inside the body, in a quantity much greater than normal, and many of them could have taken an active part in the image formation process. The simple FACT that Adler and Heller found a very high level of bilirubin in the blood samples from the Shroud is almost a confirmation of what I just said ! Do you really think that the man of the Shroud ONLY endured a high rising of the bilirubin that was in his blood and nothing else ??? Meditate on that for a while…

And for the question of the bands, here’s just one quote from Rogers book that says it all : “A conservator of Turin’s Museum of Egyptology, Anna Maria Donadoni, point out locations where batches of yarns ended in the weft AND NEW YARN HAD BEEN INSERTED IN ORDER TO CONTINUE WEAVING.” (Note : This prove that the bands are not uniform from one edge of the cloth to the other and that also prove that Rogers, because he wasn’t an expert in ancient tissues, like Collinsberry always say, was honest, intelligent and professional enough to go get information from a true expert). Now, let’s get back to the quote from Rogers book : “The yarn ends were laid side by side, and the weave was compressed with a comb. The overlaps are often visible, even in high-resolution x-ray photographs. When an overlap is observed, THE COLOR USUALLY CHANGES. The color of the Shroud is not simply a result of changes in pure cellulose (linen).” (Note : Here we have a very good indication that when Rogers was using the expression “cellulose”, he really intend “the whole linen fiber including the primary cell wall” in reality. If you get back to the exhaustive research I’ve made recently in Rogers writings, there no doubt that he was aware of the exact structure of the whole linen fiber, including the primary cell wall and, nevertheless, he didn’t thought that it was a realistic candidate for the image chromophore. That didn’t prove he was right but that’s a fact that he knew very well the composition of a linen fiber, including the primary cell wall). Let’s get back again to the quote from Rogers book : “The bands of color PROVE that there were, and still are, IMPURITIES ON THE SURFACE OF THE YARN.” (Note : So far, science have been able to prove that there are starch fractions, pectin and lignin that were left on the fibers, coming from the ancient technique of fabrication (for the starch) and from the retting process (for the other 2 products). In his paper “Shroud of Turin FAQ”, Rogers also said something very important : “All of the bleaching processes used through history remove lignin and most associated flax impurities (e.g., flax wax and hemicelluloses). The bands of different color on the Shroud are the end result of different amount of impurities LEFT FROM THE BLEACHING PROCESS.” That means that these other flax impurities coming from the retting process would be present too on the fibers, along with the other proven impurities that I mentioned above). Now, here’s the end of the quote from Rogers book : “This helps CONFIRM THE ANCIENT NATURE OF THE LINEN-PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY. It also suggests that IMPURITIES of interest in the context of image formation EXISTED ON THE CLOTH’S SURFACE AFTER IT WAS PRODUCED.”

I just want to get back a bit on what Rogers said about the banding effect because it’s very important. He said : “When an overlap is observed, THE COLOR USUALLY CHANGES.” Note that the color he mentioned here is the color of the body image on the Shroud and not the color of the bands. No matter what some people have said on this blog or elsewhere, this observation of Rogers is nothing less than a SCIENTIFIC PROOF that a close relationship between the body image and the banding effect on the cloth really exist. That’s a fact and we have to find an explanation for it. Of course, other hypotheses than the one proposed by Rogers are possible to explain this observation (like the one proposed by Heimburger the other day, i.e. that the bands are caused by a change of density of the threads used to make the cloth), but I really think that all the other known facts concerning this body image form a corroborative set of evidences in favor of the hypothesis of Rogers…

Also, I want to talk a bit more about what Rogers said concerning the possibility that some deposits of hemicelluloses (due to the retting process, just like the pectin deposits found by Adler) could have been left on the fibers after the bleaching. We can see that it is truly possible that the primary cell wall could have played a role in the image formation process on the Shroud, but differently than what Fanti, Di Lazarro, Heimburger and Al. were pretending in their 2010 paper ! Effectively, in Rogers mind (and if we take note of the finding of pectin made by Adler), it is highly probable that some hemicelluloses and pectin, could have been extracted from the primary cell wall of the linen fibers during the retting process and could have stayed at the surface of these fibers after that. Then, because of the ancient mild technique of bleaching that was used, not all of these impurities would have been “washed away” and various amounts would have been left on the surface of the fibers, depending on a more or less vigorous bleaching of each batch of yarns. Remember that, along with hemicelluloses and pectin, the primary cell wall is also composed of cellulose, making it more difficult to color chemically than a thin layer of impurities that would be partially composed of the less stable elements of the primary cell wall (i.e. the hemicelluloses and pectin), along with other impurities like starch fractions and maybe residues of saponaria officinalis (or another ancient detergent). Also, it is important to note that the evaporation-concentration process, done after the bleaching, at the end of the cloth fabrication, when the final cloth was washed and had dried, could also have played a role on the way the body image was formed on the top-surface of the cloth, by concentrate the impurities in some parts of the weave more than others (possibly on the top-crown of the weave, where more colored fibers had been found by STURP with the help of high-resolution photos).

In sum, I think this reflection of mine can really help to understand the difference that exist between the primary cell wall as a possible image chromophore and the hypothesis of a thin layer of impurities proposed by Rogers, that could include some deposits of hemicelluloses and pectin that could have been extracted from the primary cell wall by the retting process and left on-top of the fibers. Remember that Adler has already proved that there really is a deposit of pectin on-top of the fibers ! If I’m right, then that means that the primary cell wall only played a secondary role in the image formation process on the Shroud, by furnishing some elements to the thin layer of impurities, instead of being directly colored during the image formation process, as it was strongly suggested in the 2010 paper written by Fanti, Di Lazarro, Heimburger and Al. I really think this reflection, made from quotes taken in Rogers writings, deserves some thoughts !!!

Now my friends, it’s up to you !!! Reflect upon that for some time and decide for yourself if what Rogers said about the diffusion of gas inside the Shroud and about the banding effect CAN be possible or not… One thing’s for sure, there really is a strong correlation between the intensity of the body image and the intensity of the bands on the cloth and this close connection MIGHT BE EXPLAINED. And so far, I really think that Rogers explanation is the most rational one that exist ! And even if you think that other explanations can exist, the real question you have to ask yourself is this one : In regard of all the facts and observations we know now about the body image and the cloth (including the close connection that exist between the intensity of the bands and the intensity of the body image, the ghosts of color found in the sticky tapes leaving a colorless, lustrous and undamaged linen fiber behind, the reduction of color only with strong chemical agents like diimide, the extreme superficiality of this image (maybe present on both sides for the hair, beard and moustache), the known method of making linen cloths in ancient time, including especially the bleaching method done batch of yarns by batch of yarns prior to the weaving of the cloth, etc.), WHAT IS THE MOST RATIONAL HYPOTHESIS WE HAVE NOW TO EXPLAIN THE BANDING EFFECT ON THE SHROUD ? After a very long reflection, I came to the conclusion that Rogers hypothesis should rank at #1 ! For the moment, I have no doubt about that, and until someone can show me new PROOFS (I insist on the word “proofs”) that could contradict this hypothesis, I will still defend it strongly.

Last reflection before ending this long comment : I think many people (mostly from the “supernatural fringe”) will never be willing to accept even the possibility that Rogers could be correct about the banding effect, simply because if he really was, then that mean that his hypothesis concerning the image chromophore too is probably correct, and then, that mean that every hypothesis involving some kind of heat or radiation (the vast majority being connected with the resurrection of Christ) are most certainly irrelevant to the Shroud image ! Here, let’s used a quote from Rogers to conclude this reflection of mine : “I studied the chemical kinetics of the impurity materials and conclude that it was IMPROBABLE that the impurities had been scorched by heat or any radiation source : the crystal structure of the flax image fibers was NO MORE DEFECTIVE than non-image fibers. It would take very good temperature control specifically to scorch impurities without producing some defects in the cellulose.” I think that says it all ! IF (the “if” is of course important) the chromophore of the image is really a thin layer of impurities on-top of the fibers, I think we can forget any kind of miraculous process connected with the resurrection of Jesus in order to RATIONALLY explain the image formation on the Shroud ! But calm down folks ! Even if Rogers is right and the image come from a natural process, that doesn’t mean at all that Jesus didn’t resurrect ! That simply mean that his resurrection was not the cause of the image (not directly at least).

I will end this long comment by saying this : In the present state of our knowledge about the Shroud, the probability that there really are some colored impurities on-top of the fibers and the probability that there really was some biologic products on and inside the tortured corpse that could have react with these impurities are simply too high to reject the conclusions of Ray Rogers. On the contrary, the fact that these 2 probabilities are high must lead some sindonologists to continue Rogers work and try to bonify it ! Now it’s time for me to shut my mouth and let you reflect upon all this. ;-)

Here’s a perfect example of the banding effect we can see on the Shroud and his close relationship with the body image. This is a UV photo of the hands region on the Shroud and it has been taken in 1978 by Vern Miller of STURP.