Re: Static (old & new prophylaxis)
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|From:||"J. A. Kiernan" <email@example.com>|
|Date:||Fri, 1 Oct 1999 01:29:55 -0400 (EDT)|
> At 11:33 AM 09/30/1999 -0400, Weems, Joyce wrote:
> >Does anyone have any good solutions to eliminate static electricity? We have
> >a tech who carries a large charge :>) and she is about to go crazy! Thanks,
Increasing the humidity helps. An easy way to do this is to
gently breath from the mouth over the blade and ribbon. Think
steamy thoughts (boiling kettles, foggy mornings etc) while
I've tried various published methods based on electrically
grounding myself and the microtome, but without success.
When I arrived at U.W.O. in the early 1970s an elderly and
very expert technician gave me a block of metal held by a
flexible arm to a heavy base. You positioned the metal block
about 3 cm from the cutting site. It was supposed to contain
some radioactive material that ionized the air. The static
charge was presumably dissipated in neutralizing the air ions.
It worked pretty well for 3 or 4 years, but by then I became
convinced it was making no difference. I suppose the radioactive
isotope must have gone through too many half-lives. It wouldn't
have deteriorated if the manufacturer had used real radium!
There's a photo and a brief description of this histologist's
radioactive static stopper in Krajian & Gradwohl's
"Histopathological Technic," 2nd edn (1952) St Louis, MO: Mosby.
The technical instructions for microtomy in this old textbook
are very good. I commend it highly to anyone with access to a
library at least 50 years old.
The use of ionizing radiation to inhibit static is unlikely
these days to be acceptable to the safety police. I have no idea
how much radioactivity was involved. We had regular checks from
our radiation protection people when we were using the device,
and they never found anything to complain about. Possibly the
static inhibition was all wishful thinking, and the thing never
contained anything radioactive. Or maybe it really did work
but for another reason, and the Good Gremlins in the Magic
Block decided to sell their services elsewhere. Universities
worldwide are notorious for always charging but never paying
the current market price. End of static comments.
John A. Kiernan,
Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology,
The University of Western Ontario,
LONDON, Canada N6A 5C1
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