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Subject: Polyester resins

Polyester resins

From: Simon Moore <simon.moore>
Date: Wednesday, December 1, 2004
This is rather an old chestnut I fear but no-one seems to have an
answer as yet. I am embedding all sorts of biological specimens in
polyester resin which uses styrene as its main solvent.  As many of
us know, aromatic-methyl solvents (eg xylene) are excellent
microscopic clearing agents.  I need something to spray,
particularly on lepidopteran wings, to prevent this transparency in
the resin.  Blue butterfly and Morpho wings lose all their

So far I have tried: spray deodorant, polished surface matting spray
(used in photography), 5% PVA in ethanol, acrylic varnish and hair
lacquer.  All of these have failed--mainly due to solvency in the
styrene. Does anyone know of a panacea that I can spray onto
lepidopteran wings which will not mask their markings or
iridescence but will prevent them from clearing in the resin.  I am
presently not using any other types of resin as I have found that
some have longer-term surface pitting problems.

Simon Moore, MIScT, FLS, AMUKIC,ACR,
Conservator of Natural Sciences
Hampshire County Council
Recreation and Heritage Department
Museums and Archives Service
+44 1962 826737

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:25
                Distributed: Wednesday, December 1, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-18-25-029
Received on Wednesday, 1 December, 2004

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