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Freeze/thaw?!? Anyone Know How This Works?

Freeze thaw nodule mazon creek fossil

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#1 pecopteris

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 08:37 AM

Just got a few mazon creek nodules. Ive heard that the "freeze/thaw" method works the best, but does anyone know any specifics on the process (amounts of time)?

Thanks,

Peco
"PECO" (Pecopteris) - I specialize in Carboniferous fossils. I have a wide array of plants. In my collection at the moment: Ferns, Calamites, Syringodendron, Aspidaria and Sigillaria.

#2 snolly50

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 08:50 AM

I've had pretty good success with a couple hundred nodules. Some apparently will never open via freeze/thaw, but when they do it is so much better than the "whack and hope" technique.

I use a plastic tray of sufficient depth. Let nodules soak,then pop in freezer. Allow to freeze - solid. Remove and let thaw, some will, it is hoped, open exactly on the plane containing the fossil. Repeat as needed. Important note: use spare 'fridge in garage to avoid domestic conflict!

Have fun.
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#3 Boneman007

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:40 AM

I have also used a microwave to heat up Britton formation nodules after soaking. This can open tough nodules as well.

One thing: BUY A CHEAP MICROWAVE! Sometimes nodules explode. Learn from my mistake!

#4 AgrilusHunter

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:01 AM

I've had pretty good success with a couple hundred nodules. Some apparently will never open via freeze/thaw, but when they do it is so much better than the "whack and hope" technique.

I use a plastic tray of sufficient depth. Let nodules soak,then pop in freezer. Allow to freeze - solid. Remove and let thaw, some will, it is hoped, open exactly on the plane containing the fossil. Repeat as needed. Important note: use spare 'fridge in garage to avoid domestic conflict!

Have fun.


All good points! I would suggest a metal tray for faster freezing and durability though. Cracks developed in my first two plastic trays within two months of heavy freeze thawing. Metal cake pans work great!
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#5 Fossildude19

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:08 PM

Pecopteris,
Found a pertinent PDF online.
Linking to it didn't work, but I've attached it here.

Attached File  how-to-open-nodule.pdf   3.95KB   78 downloads

Hope this is specific enough.
Regards,

EDIT: MORE LINKS.

Edited by Fossildude19, 10 January 2013 - 01:37 PM.

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#6 cowsharks

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:26 PM

Instead of allowing for a gradual thaw, I wonder if anyone has tried a rapid thaw by putting the frozen nodule(s) into a pot of boiling water?

Daryl.

#7 snolly50

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:58 PM

Instead of allowing for a gradual thaw, I wonder if anyone has tried a rapid thaw by putting the frozen nodule(s) into a pot of boiling water?

Daryl.


I have, for me it did not produce any positive result. I tried it with "stubborn" nodules which had not opened previously - no luck.
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#8 Auspex

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 03:23 PM

Instead of allowing for a gradual thaw, I wonder if anyone has tried a rapid thaw by putting the frozen nodule(s) into a pot of boiling water?

Daryl.

Thermal shock will make gravel; it is the slow wedging of water expanding as it freezes that stands the best chance of desirable results.

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#9 AgrilusHunter

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:02 PM

Thermal shock will make gravel; it is the slow wedging of water expanding as it freezes that stands the best chance of desirable results.


Exactly! Time, not energy is the most important input to splitting nodules cleanly.
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#10 cowsharks

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:30 PM

Thermal shock will make gravel; it is the slow wedging of water expanding as it freezes that stands the best chance of desirable results.

Exactly! Time, not energy is the most important input to splitting nodules cleanly.


I just scolded Tracer's cat for recommending the pot of boiling water method. :)

#11 Crinoid Queen

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:34 PM

:popcorn: :rofl:

#12 Vordigern

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:55 PM

I did try the microwave with disasterous results, and Ive never had any successs with boiling water. its time consuming and often frustrating but freeze thaw is the way to go

#13 RCFossils

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:07 PM

Thermal shock will make gravel; it is the slow wedging of water expanding as it freezes that stands the best chance of desirable results.

I learned to stay away from the microwave the hard way. Many years ago i collected a relatively complete Tully Monster and was able to get it to split using a freeze thaw technique. Unfortunately when the fossil split, the area where the claw was preserved did not open (this is fairly common). I proceeded to freeze thaw the concretion several dozen times using various techniques in an attempt to expose the claw. I finally gave up and decided to place the frozen concretion into the microwave and see if that might work. Within ten seconds the claw exploded into a dozen tiny pieces.
Someday i will try and piece them together. Definately keep the concretions out of the microwave

#14 Wrangellian

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:09 PM

Well reassembly at least sounds feasible for a dozen pieces. I've got a more difficult jigsaw puzzle on my table right now! I hope you will show us that Tully when it is together.

Edited by Wrangellian, 11 January 2013 - 07:09 PM.




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