Fossil Cleaning

Air abrasive technology is a fossil collector’s dream. Sometimes it’s a challenge for the collectors to clean the fossils without touching or damaging them. Air abrasive blasting units from Airbrasive® have the perfect solution to such problems. The precision tools from Airbrasive® help to inject high pressurized blast of finely graded abrasive powder through a controlled stream of compressed gas. This makes the art of fossil cleaning easy and convenient.

Precise powder flow control is achieved using a vibratory powder feed system, such as that on the Model K. World renowned paleontologist, Alan Langerheinich only uses Airbrasive® equipment. He has found that Airbrasive® machines outperform other micro abrasive blasters that are in the market.

To remove the final layer of matrix which is softer than the fossil, or to work on delicate fossils where vibration from other tools may be harmful to the specimen, Airbrasive® units are of great help. Precise powder and air pressure control and wide variety of nozzles and orifice sizes help in achieving intricate finishes like removing the matrix around the free-standing spines and the compound eyes from a Trilobite specimen. The picture below shows a fossil before and after it was cleaned using one of Airbrasive® equipments.

Airbrasive Fossil Cleaning


Airbrasive Fossil Cleaning


There is an art to this air abrasive blasting technique. To get good results during fossil cleaning, try to work close to the specimen and keep the angle of the jet from the nozzle low ( ≤ 30°). Also keep the hand piece moving up and down or sideways so that pressure is not exerted on one particular area. You may need to practice micro abrasive cleaning on damaged fossils to learn the best techniques. It may involve experimenting with abrasive media, pressure, and nozzle sizes to achieve the desired results. By choosing the correct abrasive powder and the right air pressure, the rock matrix can be completely removed while the finest details of the fossil are retained. Such details are often essential to paleontologists for identifying fossils, and units from Airbrasive® are best suited for exposing the fine details of fossils once they are cleaned and the bulk of the matrix has been removed.