Agate Mortar and Pestle (1/3)

Title

Agate Mortar and Pestle (1/3)

Subject

Mineralogy, Geology, Chemistry

Description

Physical Description

There are three unique agate mortar and pestles at A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum. The largest mortar measures three centimeters in diameter at the base, while the matching pestle measures five centimeters in length. This mortar and pestle set is a light brown color with translucent areas. The pestle is lighter than the mortar. Both are cut from agate, which gives the set a marbled and inconsistent color pattern. The mortar is a rounded bowl on the inside, but the outside edges form an octagonal shape. Each end of the pestle is rounded; one end of the pestle is smaller in diameter than the other by four and one half centimeters.

Functional Description

The mortar and pestle has been used in laboratories for centuries for grinding and crushing various substances. This mortar and pestle is still in use for grinding powders for X-ray diffraction. The mortar is shaped like a bowl in order to hold a certain amount of the substance to be ground. The pestle is then used to mash and grind the substance in the bowl until the desired consistency is reached. The agate mortar and pestle is used in circumstances where cross contamination must be avoided. This is because agate is one of the finest, most non-porous natural materials available for a grinding surface. Bacteria, contaminants, and other particles cannot penetrate the material.

Creator

Savannah de Luca

Language

n/a

Type

Physical object

Physical Dimensions

Mortar: Base: 3cm Top: 6cm Height:3cm Pestle: Length: 5cm Diameter: 6mm, 1.5 cm

Materials

Agate

Maker

unknown

Inscriptions

none

Files

fullsizeoutput_16a8.jpeg

Citation

Savannah de Luca, “Agate Mortar and Pestle (1/3),” Michigan Tech Inventory of Historic Scientific Instruments, accessed May 22, 2018, http://ihsi.omeka.net/items/show/169.

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