The Petrographic Thin-Section Laboratory
In this laboratory, headed by J.J. Gottlieb, thin-section slides for micro-morphological analysis are produced. Various materials such as ceramics, mortar, stone, soil samples and other minerals undergo a process of polymer impregnation in order to consolidate the brittle or friable sample. This is done by introducing a solution of polyester and styrene, with its hardener, into the sample by vacuum. This polymer enters the microstructure of the fabric thus facilitating the cutting, grinding and polishing of the specimen once cured. Each sampled is cut using a Hilquist diamond saw with parasol as the cooling agent. The sample is then ground and polished to the thickness of25- 30 µ.
The researcher wanting to determine the mineralogical context of the sample then analyzes these slides. Micro-morphological analysis may determine, in the case of pottery for instance, the provenance of the fabric, or the mineralogical content in the case of a soil sample.