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How can I recreate a low humidity environment


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Hello to all at TFF

 

Does anyone have any suggestions / experience in recreating a low humidity environment to naturally slow dry bone. 

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I don’t have any experience but calcium chloride or some other desiccant in the containers around the room should leech the moisture out. Well, theoretically it should.

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I would put an Interior Dehumidifier in a sealed container with the bone.

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36 minutes ago, WhodamanHD said:

I don’t have any experience but calcium chloride or some other desiccant in the containers around the room should leech the moisture out. Well, theoretically it should.

Thank you @WhodamanHDcertainly an interesting suggestion 

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34 minutes ago, Foozil said:

I would put an Interior Dehumidifier in a sealed container with the bone.

Certainly plausible @Foozilas I have power points in my prepping shed 

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Wrangellian

If you want to slow-dry something, wouldn't it be better to have a higher humidity? Low humidity I think would cause faster drying, unless you keep the temperature cool.

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1 hour ago, Wrangellian said:

If you want to slow-dry something, wouldn't it be better to have a higher humidity? Low humidity I think would cause faster drying, unless you keep the temperature cool.

I agree. I’ve heard of people placing bone or fragile shell fossils in multiple ziplock bags in order to slow drying to prevent flaking of the fossil.

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Why do you want to slow-dry the bone? Are you afraid of cracking?

In this case, it may be better to place the fossil in glycerine or PEG. This method is used on (ancient) wooden ships, that have been under water for centuries. Normal drying would lead to complete destruction of wood. This method was used in the conservation of the Swedish ship Vasa, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1628.

In the past, this method was also used to preserve fossils from Messel, Germany.

 

From Wikipedia:

Although Vasa was in surprisingly good condition after 333 years at the bottom of the sea, it would have quickly deteriorated if the hull had been simply allowed to dry. The large bulk of Vasa, over 600 cubic metres (21,000 cu ft) of oak timber, constituted an unprecedented conservation problem. After some debate on how to best preserve the ship, conservation was carried out by impregnation with polyethylene glycol (PEG), a method that has since become the standard treatment for large, waterlogged wooden objects, such as the 16th-century English ship Mary Rose. Vasa was sprayed with PEG for 17 years, followed by a long period of slow drying, which is not yet entirely complete.

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If you want to really slow dry something then I would just wrap it up in newspaper and put it in a cool place... has worked for me (not when I was intentionally trying to dry them though)

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Not sure if this would work with bone, but in working with mudshales I wrap those in cling film and poke a few holes, which results in a slower drying process without cracking. 

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You need a higher humidity and slowly decrease overtime I think. A low humidity will dry it quickly. For salts that can accurately control humidity a friend/colleague of mine has info here http://www.mikeware.co.uk/mikeware/New_Chrysotype_Process.html look at table two. 

 

However wrapping in dampish newspaper then towels I think has been mentioned here. Something like that anyway. 

 

@Harry Pristis @Ptychodus04 @jpc will know amongst others. 

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Ptychodus04
1 minute ago, JohnBrewer said:

You need a higher humidity and slowly decrease overtime I think. A low humidity will dry it quickly. For salts that can accurately control humidity a friend/colleague of mine has info here http://www.mikeware.co.uk/mikeware/New_Chrysotype_Process.html look at table two. 

 

However wrapping in dampish newspaper then towels I think has been mentioned here. Something like that anyway. 

 

@Harry Pristis @Ptychodus04 @jpc will know amongst others. 

 

Agreed, lowering the humidity will cause the bone to dry even faster (bad). When I need to dry vertebrate material that is precariously preserved, I wrap it in a damp towel, then wrap that in a dry towel and put the whole thing into a closed cardboard box. This forces the moisture to evaporate very slowly and not cause as much cracking due to differential drying.

 

 

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Harry Pristis

 

I am skeptical about the need for slow-drying of bone.  That may be my bias, though collecting in Florida shouldn't be so very different from other places.  I wash 'em while wet/damp, then let 'em dry as they will (usually in an air-conditioned environment).  I've never experienced "cracking due to differential drying."  Once "dry" (a week, a month, or more), I drive off residual moisture by heating the bone under an infra-red lamp before consolidating the bone with plastic. 

 

 

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Thank everyone for your input as there are some very knowledgeable pieces of advice here. 

 

My intensions are to maintainin a low enough humidity in a storage area. To either prevent further oxidation,  of some pyrite being triggered that I have noticed on the bones,  or at least to slow down the reaction. 

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So, the goal here is to avoid pyrite decay?  And has nothing to do with slowly drying wet bones?  

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33 minutes ago, jpc said:

So, the goal here is to avoid pyrite decay?  And has nothing to do with slowly drying wet bones?  

Yeah I’m confused now :headscratch:

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Part and parcel really @jpc I'm having this bone professionally treated. But not for a while, so just contemplating how to best store it in the meantime. 

IMG_20180329_203748.jpg

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