SEM of disposable microtome blades

I have enjoyed the discussion of microtome blades and Dr McCormick's and Nancy Klemme's comments.

A few months ago I thought I would do an SEM study of disposable microtome blades. I especially wanted to compare some 20 year old American Optical blades which were the best I have ever come across, with modern blades, some boxes of which appear defective on arrival.
Also examined were blades which had become scored through use, cutting through small calcium deposits etc.

Suprisingly, there was not a lot of difference between these blades on the SEM. Very good blades and "so, so" blades looked similier. Only blades with obvious defects looked markedly different

There must be some other factors involved in how sharp a microtome blade is, besides the appearance of the edge.

Mike Titford
USA Pathology
Mobile AL USA

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