Alpine Meadows Weavers and Spinners
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Fiber Microscopy

Plant Fibers. . . .Exotic Fibers. . .Sheep Fibers

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Alpaca fibers with central medulla, extraneous matter. Alpaca, biege, 100x magnification in original photograph. Most of the fibers are medullated at least to some degree; that means there is a central medulla showing increased pigmentation. Even though this sample was washed you can still see lots of debris on the fibers.
Alpaca fibers of various sizes with micrometer. Alpaca, 100x. Each division of the graduated scale is approximately 10 microns at the 100x magnification. Notice the variability in size of the fibers. These fibers were all taken from one lock of an alpaca fleece.
One alpaca fiber with micrometer. Alpaca, 400x. Here one can see how to measure one fiber, but since the fibers of the whole fleece are so variable a lot more measurements would need to be taken to characterize the range and distribution of fiber sizes in the fleece. At 400x, each division of the scale is 2.5 microns approximately.
Alpaca fibers with micrometer magnified 400x originally. Alpaca, 400x. Another view showing the size and also the medullation of three fibers. The fiber on the left goes from 41 to 50, so it is 9 units in diameter. That means it is about 22.5 microns (9 x 2.5). Notice the blurry, faint image of one fiber crossing the other fibers; this fiber is not on the same level as the other fibers so is out of focus.
Cashmere fibers under the microscope. Cashmere, light and dark gray, 100x.
Cashmere fibers magnified 400x. Cashmere, 400x. In this picture you can see the scales covering the fiber, and also the size.
Plant Fibers. . . .Sheep Fibers
© 2007 Debra Whitehead