Materials Processing Laboratory
The Materials Processing Laboratory is equipped for cutting, grinding, polishing and sampling of a wide variety of material types and sizes. The laboratory includes a 10-ton capacity wire saw and abrasive and diamond saws up to 24 inches in diameter. Cut surfaces up to square meters in size can be ground and polished.
Meteorites and rocks from around the world have been prepared in the lab. Most of the work currently done in the lab is in the support of ongoing scientific research or collections management, but some of the most spectacular specimens prepared in this lab are on view in the Janet Annenburg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Meteorites.
Features & Capabilities
- The 10-ton wire saw uses an abrasive slurry of garnet and water to slowly cut through a large specimen. The wire saw has been used to cut large iron meteorites and boulders of banded iron formation. It can take as many as 75 wire changes and several weeks to saw through a single specimen.
- A 24-inch abrasive saw allows iron meteorites to be cut rapidly and with minimal loss of material.
- A 14-inch water-cooled diamond saw is used for routine slicing of rocks for chemical analysis. Hundreds of samples are cut each year using this saw.