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Thread: How Much magnification needed to see cuticle?

  1. #1 How Much magnification needed to see cuticle? 
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    Hi All,

    My daughter, the CSI buff is working on a college project and needs a magnifying device to be able to clearly see the cuticles of hair strands somewhat like on this page. http://www.answersingenesis.org/arti...ing-human-hair. Can someone tell me about what this image is magnified to? She also needs to be able to view the Cortex and the Medula so that she can distinguish between human and animal hairs and also hairs vs synthetic fibers. Also, there is an image of a strand of hair on this page magnified to 200x and I can actually see the cuticle, so I'm wondering if I can get away with simply a 200x magnifying glass or even something like this 400x USB microscope http://www.amazon.com/Veho-VMS004DEL.../dp/B0025U0L8Y? Or do I REALLY need something like this polarizing microscope that is a whopping $275? http://cgi.ebay.com/POLARIZING-BRIGH...item5d222a3d9f It claims to go up to 1000x magnification, but I'm just weary of spending this much for something I don't really know is what we truly need. I read somewhere that the polarizing will make it easy to see the pattern of the cuticle.

    She also wants to determine if the hair strand has been treated with a some type of chemical like a silicone based hair spray. Will the polarizing or stereo microscope help with this, or does she need some type chemical testing for this phase of the project?

    Please help.

    Thx


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    that hair picture was made with SEM. Scanning electron microscopy.

    You can't buy those.

    For light microscopy pictures see this:

    http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/...ro/tchair.html


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  4. #3  
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    Thanks for the response. The pictures look great for viewing the cortex and the medula, but you can't really see the pattern of the cuticle. I did read somewhere that it's hard to see the cuticle. Also, it looks like that is a $6,000 microscope (used) from my searches, which defnitely won't work. With that being said, I'll revise my questions to the following:

    1. What is the least costly way to see the cuticle pattern if she doesn't need to capture photos.

    2. What is the least costly way for her to see the cortex and the medula if she doesn't need to capture photos.

    Thx In Advance
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  5. #4  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    A histology database with a library of pictures. Or a detailed histology text book.

    Why does she need to see these things first hand? It is impossible to see the cuticle at that level directly anyway, the image is constructed by a computer. (You'd also have to coat the hair in a fine layer of gold to prepare it for viewing, it's not a cheap process)

    For the 1000X magnification, like Spurious posted, she might be able to ask a prof at school if she could use one of the light microscopes. I imagine any reasonably equipped college has light microscopes, even high schools have those.
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  6. #5  
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    She's very interested in forensics. And part of teaching herself this and for her project she wants to evaluate some of her many, many, wigs that she has collected and determine if they are synthetic or human, whether the cuticle has been stripped off, whether the cuticles run in the same direction, etc.

    She needs something at home because this is something she is going to be working on during her down time over the next year. I need to know what exactly does she need to accomplish this at the lowest possible cost as she's very interested in making a career of this type of work.

    Thx
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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    I would just put that money into education. Enlist her in a technical course that could be of future use.

    You could also try to ask the DIY biologists.

    http://groups.google.com/group/diybio?pli=1
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  8. #7  
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    Thanks spuriousmonkey.

    I'll ask that group as well. Have to come up with some solution as this project counts for half her grade in the class.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Maybe the teacher should have advised her to modify her project to something more manageable. That's what I am really thinking.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  10. #9  
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    Yes, I'll have to have a talk with her. But I appreciate all the info.
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