imageAn interesting conversation seems to be developing with A.A.M. van der Hoeven (Adrie) and Colin Berry on Colin’s site. But first, leading up to it, Colin asks, in End-of-year brain-teaser for Shroudies: I challenge you to explain this apparent contradiction…

How can the Shroud image be described as ultra-superficial, too thin to have been formed by any conventional form of energy (thermal imprinting etc) -  having presumably negligible effect on the integrity of the fibre as a whole – only to be told that fibres that bear that image are mechanically-weakened across the entire cross-section – so much so that they BREAK EASILY?

This is in reference to a quote in a JIST Paper, Microscopic and Macroscopic Characteristics of the Shroud of Turin Image Superficiality (A Google Docs Reprint), by G. Fanti, J. A. Botella, P. Di Lazzaro, T. Heimburger, R. Schneider and N. Svensson.

Image-area tapes (pressure sensitive adhesive tapes used by STURP team to sample the TS) “lifted" more easily than non-image tapes suggesting that the topmost fibers in the image area were somehow weakened; the linen fibers seen on the body-image tapes are shorter and more fractured than arc those from nonimage areas.

Colin continues after showing this quote:

And here’s a clue to some potential weak points in a flax fibre.

To what do the three arrows point?  Thicker, maybe, but  potential fracture locations?

To what do the three arrows point?
Thicker, maybe, but potential fracture locations?

imageFurther clue: note this fascinating observation in one of Adrie’s papers (pdf) [that would be “Internal selvedge in starched and dyed temple mantle — No invisible repair in Turin Shroud — No Maillard reaction” by A.A.M. van der Hoeven]:

Note that the ghosts are also continuous over the joints of fibre cells – also called growth nodes – which seems to suggest the ghosts weren’t (only) primary cell walls. The thickness of the ghosts (200-600 nm) perhaps also precludes that they only consist of the primary cell wall of the linen. More recent experiments estimated the thickness of the colored layer to be 200 nm +/- 200 nm; a primary cell wall would be only about 200 nm thick.

Thanks Adrie. Yours is one of the few informative statements I have been able to find so far in this important aspect of flax fibre microstructure, especiallly as it related to Rogers’ “ghosts” – to say nothing of that allegedly “impossible to account for” image superficiality.